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Characters / Dragon Age Recurring Party Members: Part Two

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This page is for listing the tropes related to the characters who have appeared since Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening and Dragon Age II and have also appeared in other games.

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Voiced by: Greg Ellis (Dragon Age Origins - Awakening), Adam Howden (Dragon Age II)

    Tropes In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
"Most people enjoy being kicked in the head to be woken up each morning. Me, I'm just so picky."

An apostate who despises blood magic almost as much as the Chantry does. Despite this, the Chantry still sees him as a threat, and keeps him locked up. Since Anders values freedom above all else, he has made many, many, many escape attempts. He finally succeeds when the new Warden-Commander invokes the Right of Conscription to save him from being dragged back to the tower once again.

  • Ambiguous Situation: While he claims to be innocent when accused directly, it's never revealed whether or not if he actually murdered his Templar captors, or just sat back to watch and let the Darkspawn do it for him.
  • Appropriated Appellation: When he was initially brought to the Circle as a child, he refused to speak. Not knowing his true name, other apprentices started to call him "the Ander" because of his Anders heritage. This became the only name he later uses.
  • Birds of a Feather: Tries to invoke this with Nathaniel, whom he notes is also hated for who he is. Nathaniel is slightly annoyed by the oversimplification.
  • Boxed Crook: He can be saved from death sentence for the supposed murder of the templars who were guarding him, but only if the Warden invokes the Right of Conscription.
  • Claustrophobia: If brought to the Deep Roads, he nervously notes the miles and miles of rock over the party's heads. "Is this a bad time to tell you I'm claustrophobic?" It's hard to say how serious he's being, but he claims to have spent a long time in solitary confinement - an entire year after his sixth unsuccessful escape attempt.
  • Combat Medic: His default specialization is Spirit Healer.
  • Crazy Cat Dude: He loves the kitty he can be given in Awakening, and reminisces fondly about his previous pet.
  • Cute Kitten: Ser Pounce-A-Lot, the kitten that the Warden-Commander can give him. In Dragon Age II, he says that the Wardens made him give it up for "making him soft."
    • Also had one in the Circle called Mr. Wiggums, which later got possessed by a Rage Demon and killed at least three Templars before being defeated. Anders considers that Mr. Wiggums' proudest moment.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Towards Ser Pounce-A-Lot.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    Nathaniel: Do you always wear robes?
    Anders: Not when I'm naked, I don't.
  • Determinator: "After my seventh escape attempt, you'd think they'd have given me credit for trying."
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced incinerating the Darkspawn who just killed his Templar handlers. Then he switches to dorkily wagging his fingers as though going "hot, hot, hot", before denying he killed the Templars and making a pretty dark joke about the noises they made when they went down.
    Warden: That's inhuman!
    Anders: That's what he would call me whenever he kicked me in the head, so I guess it was pretty accurate.
  • Foreshadowing: If questioned, he reveals that he's actually really pissed off with the Templars and wishes he could have a harem, a banquet, and the ability to rain fireballs upon every Templar in creation. Doubles up as Harsher in Hindsight when the player learns that the latter basically sums up his personality and actions in Dragon Age II.
    • He also makes the observation "Bet they regret that rule," when explaining that the only reason he's avoided being made Tranquil is that it's illegal to do that to a mage who has passed their Harrowing. In Dragon Age II, Anders rages that things are so far gone in the Kirkwall Circle that the Templars are disregarding that rule.
    • There's a scene where the Warden-Commander destroys a religious statue, and Anders comments that he's "always up for a spot of light iconoclasm." Again, rather dark, considering his actions in the second game.
    • After helping the Warden-Commander retake Vigil's Keep, his reaction to the Templar who attempts to arrest him and bring him back to the Circle to face justice for the Templars he (supposedly) "murdered" during his latest escape.
      Anders: Oh, please, the things you know about justice would fit into a thimble...
  • Formally Named Pet: Ser Pounce-a-Lot and Mr. Wiggums, although the latter got the name from an elf mage who liked hats with cat ears.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Downplayed. His next-to-last escape from the Circle before the beginning of Awakening has earned him a year of solitary confinement, and the only living creature he was allowed to see during this time was a tower cat, which explains his affinity for them. He appears to be laid-back in his interactions with the Warden, but he occasionally lets slip that imprisonment had a profound negative effect on him:
    Anders: If I didn't have perspective, I'd still be sitting in a templar dungeon drooling on my smallclothes.
  • Happy Ending Override: The epilogues where he happily settles in with the Wardens, as they eventually countenance Templar harassment, attack him after he merges with Justice, and confiscate his pet cat.
  • Healer Signs On Early: He is the second (first, if the player counts Mhairi's unfortunate demise) party member the Warden-Commander encounters during the opening, and he can be recruited pretty much straight away. He comes back shortly after Oghren's arrival even if the player decides to let him run.
  • Hypocrite: While not nearly to the extent as the next game, Anders does lament what mages suffer this game, and dismisses an Elven Warden who tries to bring up that their people suffer too. "No one ever locks you up for being what you are." They're called alienages, Anders.
  • Irony: If the player makes him a Blood Mage, he lampshades the irony of it all.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Anders is very fond of cats.
  • Living Legend: He's infamous among both Mages and Templars as the most prolific escape artist in the Ferelden Circle's history. According to Finn in Witch Hunt, Anders is the reason that Mages no longer do physical fitness exercises outside... after he ducked past the Templars, jumped off the dock, and swam across Lake Calenhad to freedom.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Comes off as one. He claims that mages wear robes because it allows them to have illicit quickies without the fuss of buttons.
  • Mind Rape: Suggested in his comments during the Joining that he may fear being made Tranquil, as further evidenced by what happens to mages in Kirkwall in Dragon Age II.
  • Misery Poker: Again, not nearly to the extent of the next game, but he does engage in this a bit. If an Elven Warden tries to point out their people are oppressed too, Anders dismisses them by saying no one ever locks you up for what you are... seemingly forgetting what alienages are for.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A surprising number of fangirls and fanboys wish Anders was a romance option. After Alistair and Zevran, he probably generates the most sexy fanart. Then Dragon Age II makes him a full love interest for both genders.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: If you let him keep running after your first meeting, he comes back to help you anyway, as the darkspawn need to be stopped. This gives the templars a chance to catch up with him, paring his options down to "conscription" or "dragged back to the Circle."
  • The Not-Love Interest: Anders is arguably the closest thing to a romance in Awakening, but even then it never actually goes anywhere with the female Warden-Commander.
  • Not What It Looks Like: His Establishing Character Moment, no less! The Warden walks in on him using fire magic to burn Darkspawn to a crisp, with the charred corpses of Templars lying nearby. His response? "Uh, I didn't do it."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Anders is not his real name; he was given the nickname because he was originally from the Anderfels. His real name is never revealed, not even in DAII.
  • Perma-Stubble: Sports one of these.
  • Prison Escape Artist: has escaped from the Circle Tower (which is on an island in the middle of a lake and heavily guarded by armed and armored Templars with Anti-Magic) seven times. Of course, he kept getting recaptured, and once spent a year in solitary, but...
  • Puberty Superpower: His magical abilities first manifested at the age of 12 when he accidentally set a barn on fire.
  • Sad Clown: There are a few scenes in Awakening which hint that the situation that mages face hurts him more than he lets on. His talkativeness can be also partially attributed to his previous isolation — he's been released from a year long solitary confinement shortly before the beginning of the game:
    Anders: [sadly] Never mind me, now and again I recall that I'm not sitting in a cell and I have to smile, that's all.
  • Ship Tease: His banter with the female PC is as close as Awakening gets to an actual romance.

    Tropes In Dragon Age II
"There will always be mages born in Thedas. But Templars are made by men... and they can be unmade."

In Dragon Age II, Anders has left the Grey Wardens and come to Kirkwall to use his healing magic to help refugees. He is the current host of the Spirit of Justice; however, Anders' hatred for the Circle of Magi has corrupted Justice into a demonic spirit of vengeance. He is a romance option for a Hawke of either gender.

  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • If he's brought along for Legacy, the revelation of Corypheus' origins shakes him up so badly that he declares he will reconsider whether the Chantry might have a valid point about the danger of mages. He doesn't, of course.
    • He experiences a combination of this and Ignored Epiphany after his personal quest in Act 2. If Ella survives, he tries to put aside his cause to learn to rein in Justice/Vengeance. Unfortunately, because of how bad the situation in Kirkwall has gotten by Act 3, the obsession soon returns worse than ever. If Ella dies, his Heroic BSoD is much worse, but he doesn't put aside his cause, instead throwing himself in more than ever so it won't all be in vain. It's very possible that Justice/Vengeance just flat out won't let these moments sink in.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • It's implied that Anders falls in love with Hawke even if he is not romanced, as not starting his romance at the first opportunity nets rivalry points. Obviously, this is subverted if Hawke does romance him.
    • If Hawke does romance him, Anders states that he's been "aching for" Hawke for the past three years, pretty much proving that he falls in love with Hawke either way.
    • This is implied to be true for both him and Justice, given Justice's comments on the nature of love in Awakening; he does not return the love of Kristoff's wife, but he still wants to experience such a love. However, Anders tells a romanced Hawke that "Justice disapproves of my obsession with you."
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe. By the time of Inquisition, just about every single character has VERY strong opinions on Anders and his actions, ranging from people seeing him as a brave freedom fighter to a monster. Depending on their relationship, Hawke can agree with any of these portrayals or argue that none of them properly capture Anders' complexities.
    Inquisitor: What was he like?
    Hawke: Complicated. It's... not like the minstrels make it out to be.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Displays quite a few bipolar symptoms (the Codex even explicitly mentions manic and depressive phases), though this may be a side effect of the possession.
  • And I Must Scream: Says this almost verbatim in a piece of banter with Merrill.
    Anders: [Being an Abomination] is like being trapped in your own body. Seeing out your eyes, while someone else moves you like a puppet, and you're trying to scream, to move a single muscle, but there's no escape.
  • Angst? What Angst?: While he's outraged by Karl's death, it doesn't take very long for him to move on as he makes a pass at Hawke during their next conversation and is implied to fall in love with them even if he's not the chosen love interest. Keep in mind that Karl was his First Love, was one of the reasons he came to Kirkwall in the first place, and it hasn't even been a year since Anders was forced to kill him.
  • Anti-Hero: To start with but he later slides down the scale until he becomes an Unscrupulous Hero, or goes through a straight up Face–Heel Turn, depending on the player's stance on the mage-Templar conflict.
  • The Atoner:
    • Can potentially become this if the player has him at high rivalry and tries to convince him that his merging with Justice was wrong and that there are other ways for mages to win their freedom, so that he will join Hawke when he sides with the Templars.
    • Even if the player sides with the mages, Hawke (and Merrill) can choose to invoke this as a reason to spare him. He implies that he agrees with this, saying that he'll try not to make so much of a mess out of his second chance at life.
  • Bag of Spilling: By the end of Awakening, Anders was an archmage who probably could have taken on Urthemiel single-handedly. In II, he joins the party with single-digit levels and only a basic healing, repulsion, and ice spell.
  • Batman Gambit: He knew exactly how Meredith would react when he destroyed the Chantry and he was depending on it for his plan to work. It did.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: During Legacy, Corypheus's influence briefly causes him to snap - Justice's voice takes over, but demons start appearing around him. After the fight, he stays lucid and on Hawke's side for the rest of the campaign.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Templars, and the foundation upon which they stand, including the Circle and the Chantry. But especially Templars.
    • Blood Magic as well, to a slightly lesser extent. Of course, part of why Blood Magic offends him so much is that it's the main thing the Templars use to justify confining mages.
    • His reaction to Karl being made Tranquil, causing Justice to manifest;
      Justice: You will never take another mage as you took him!
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Bethany, though she finds him more reminiscent of her father than anything else. Sadly, he becomes rather snarky towards her if she goes to the Circle, which he sees as throwing away the kind of freedom he always wanted.
  • Bi the Way: In Awakening, he only stated attraction to women, flirting with the females of the party and joking about wanting a wife someday. He only mentions his history with Karl to a male Hawke, and hesitantly asks if it "bothers you". If Hawke takes the initiative, he notes that he's not used to men openly hitting on him. Make of that what you will.
  • Black and White Insanity: Anders becomes slowly more irrationally convinced that the cause of mage freedom, or at least his view of it, is the real distinguishing mark of morality and that anyone who disagrees (even other mages) is his enemy. This is a result of Vengeance exerting more and more influence.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: More subtle than most, but the presence of Vengeance fundamentally alters Anders' viewpoints on a lot of things. Having a significant part of who and what you are made up of an entity formed around an unyielding concept, coupled with the lack of an understanding of time (time is irrelevant in the Fade, so Vengeance doesn't understand the concept of "waiting"), creates a distinct slant on his perceptions. It doesn't excuse his actions, but it does make them understandable.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • If brought along for Legacy, Anders becomes a thrall of Corypheus. He snaps out of it after a brief boss fight. If Anders is alive and in a relationship with Hawke at the time of Inquisition, Hawke says that Anders is being kept out of the action specifically to prevent this from happening again.
    • One interpretation of his actions in Act 3 was that Justice pushed him to destroy the Chantry. During his speech to Meredith and Orsino, the player can hear Justice's deep voice intermixed with his words, implying that he's just below the surface and barely contained.
  • Break the Cutie: Anders was flirty and cheerful with a soft spot for cats in Awakening. Things change big time in this game... well, save for the love of cats.
  • Broken Pedestal: Potentially with Hawke or Bethany. He places them on a high pedestal of living the ideal apostate life, having been trained by a loving father. Anders' image of them can come crashing down if Hawke is Pro-Circle or just disinterested. If Bethany joins the Circle, he acts a lot harsher towards her.
  • Byronic Hero: He got into the cause for mage justice, freedom and equality with the best of intentions. As time goes on, those intentions drive him to increasingly ambiguous extremes (though the spirit/demon in his head helps some too) until he comes pretty damn close to the Point of No Return.
  • Combat Medic: Still retains his healing powers. He uses them on sick refugees in Kirkwall.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Whether romanced or not. If Hawke romances Merrill or Fenris, he states his disapproval in the bluntest and most hypocritical ways imaginable during "Justice" in Act 3.
  • Cruel Mercy: Letting him live after he blows up the Chantry.
    • Or even worse, convincing him to side with the Templars. Takes a maxed-out Rivalry meter, but boy is it worth it.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: He comes to Kirkwall in the first place to rescue Karl, his friend and ex-lover... only to learn Karl has already been made Tranquil, and is being used to draw Anders and Hawke into an ambush by the Templars. After the fight, Anders gives him a Mercy Kill at his request. Anders is a lot grimmer after this.
  • Dark Is Evil: He becomes noticeably more ruthless in Act 3, when his outfit turns black.
  • Dark Messiah: Has hordes of the poor and needy willing to risk their lives to protect him? Check. Dedicated his life to creating a better system for his people? Check. Willing to sacrifice everything, including his own life and the lives of others, to achieve this? Oh so very much check. He even compares his situation to Andraste's once or twice, to Sebastian's disgust.
    • Averted if Hawke is in a Rivalry with him, though; he breaks down and sees himself not as a savior, but as just another monstrosity to be put down.
  • Dead Man Walking: By the third act, he's convinced that he is this. It turns out this is because he knows he will most likely be executed after igniting the mage/Templar war.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just don't ask him about the Chantry.
  • Death Seeker: In the end, he wishes death regardless of Hawke's attitude towards him, but for different reasons:
    • on Rivalry path, it is due to his difficulty in keeping Vengeance under control.
    • on Friendship path, he wants the people whom he killed to receive justice as well.
  • Demonic Possession: Originally, Anders allowed his friend Justice, who was a benign spirit, to possess him; but Anders' inherent anger at the perceived injustices against mages perverted Justice into Vengeance.
    • If you have achieved full rivalry with Anders, Vengeance will take over his body to stop him from going back on blowing up the chantry after you convince him not to. Before the final battle, Anders will straight up say Vengeance possessed him to do what he did while normally Anders will claim full responsibility for blowing up the Chantry. Notably Anders isn't using Vengeance's possession of him as an excuse to escape culpability. He considers himself a monster and asks Hawke to kill him and in one path hints he plans to kill himself afterwards.
  • Distressed Dude: Should he be the hostage in "Best Served Cold," he's embarrassed that Hawke had to rescue him and quips that he's never thought of himself as a damsel in distress. On the other hand, see Nightmare Fetishist.
  • Dreadful Musician: If he moves into the estate, Hawke notes that playing the lute isn't one of his many talents.
  • Driven to Suicide: After he destroys the Chantry, he acknowledges that it's Hawke's duty to judge him for it, and is unsurprised - and possibly appreciative - if Hawke chooses to kill him. Also, if his Rivalry is at maximum, and he's convinced to side with the Templars, he implies as well that he will kill himself after the battle is done.
  • Dr. Jerk: Variation. He's quite kind to his patients, to the point that they're willing to risk their lives for him. Everyone else who doesn't share his views, however, is open for jerkery and much worse.
  • Enemy Mine: With Fenris, and Merrill to a lesser extent by Act 2. As time goes on and his paranoia increases, he starts treating everybody (aside from, possibly, Hawke and Varric) with suspicion.
  • Evil Costume Switch: "Evil" is a simplification, but he switches to a black, buttoned-up version of his outfit after his Act 3 personal quest.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Terrible as Anders' actions were, a lot of supplementary material suggests that escalating the mage/Templar conflict to open war was the right thing to do, since the status quo only weakened the mages' position. The events of Inquisition can further cement this idea; if Leliana is named Divine, one of her reforms to the Chantry is the dissolving of the Circle system, granting the mages their freedom and creating widespread mage acceptance, giving Anders (and the rebel mages who agreed with his points, if not his actions) everything he wanted. Even the endings that see the Circles rebuilt come with some major reformations.
    • The flavor text of the Magehunter shield in Inquisition tells of a previous misuse of the Right of Annulment. In 3:09 Towers, twenty-five years after the Right was first granted, the Circle of Magi in Antiva City was annulled to cover up the fact that its Knight-Captain was a serial killer who murdered over a hundred mages out of pure bigotry. While the Seekers eventually hunted him down and punished him, they assisted the Templars in covering up the incident, leaving the rest of the Circles completely ignorant of the truth, and there is no mention of them punishing the Knight-Commander for Annulling a Circle under false pretenses. Given that background chatter in the second game reveals that Meredith had gone over Elthina's head and petitioned the Divine for the Right, it paints a very clear picture of what might have happened to the Gallows if Anders had not provoked Meredith into jumping the gun instead of waiting for the Divine's permission.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Possibly subverted, as the player can choose not to kill him.
  • Fate Worse than Death: He sees being made Tranquil as this, with plenty of corroboration from Karl.
    • And if the player makes him side with the Templars through the rivalry route.
  • Fallen Hero: Anders mostly just wanted to look out for numero uno back in Awakening, but he was also a fairly good-hearted guy happy to do the right thing. He hasn't quite become a villain, but it becomes readily apparent over time that he's slowly slipping into good intentions, very bad methods territory.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Anders must constantly push back the influence of Vengeance or become a true abomination and lose himself.
  • Foreshadowing: Check out the banter between him and Justice (as well as Justice and Nathaniel) in Awakening. Heads will explode.
  • Freudian Excuse: Revealed to Hawke in brief rambling in his clinic. From a young age he was estranged from his home, terrorized and confined by Templars. If he had a sense of the injustice, it blurred with his lifelong grudge, begetting vengeance.
    • He's got another one: he's under constant pressure to keep Vengeance under control. He's losing.
    • A damaged journal found in Dragon Age: Inquisition that is implied to have been written by Anders suggests that his Harrowing was a particularly traumatic experience.
    • The World of Thedas: Volume 2 gives us more insight. Before his magic manifested, he was a carefree, cheerful young boy, beloved by his parents and very popular with the other children in his village; the discovery of his magic and his subsequent abduction by the Templars took all of that away from him, causing him to resent his new loss of freedom even more strongly. On top of this, while he ran away several times when he was young, there was a period of time where he made no effort to leave due to having found something in the Circle that made him happy and grounded: his relationship with Karl. He started running away again when Karl was moved to the Kirkwall Circle, trying and failing to make passage to Kirkwall to be with his lover again. It's easier to see how he came to feel that the Circle system took away not just his freedom, but his loved ones as well.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Most other party members don't like how he keeps talking about mages and Templars. Anders, for his part, agitates them by insulting or instigating fights with his fellow party members at every opportunity. The fact that he's possessed by a hostile Fade spirit doesn't help matters.
  • Fridge Horror: He gets an In-Universe one. For much of the game, he talks about how Justice used to be as though he were a paragon of virtue. After losing control of Vengeance and almost/killing a young girl, Merrill explains to him that there has never been a "good" spirit and that they are all dangerous. That he is totally silent after learning this says it all. Again, if Hawke is on a Rival path, he finally comes to terms with it after blowing up the Chantry.
  • Gay Option: For male Hawkes.
  • Get Out!: Hawke can do this as a Cruel Mercy after blowing up the Chantry. If Hawke sides with the mages after doing this, Anders shows up at the Gallows, asking if he can help them fight. Hawke can refuse and tell him to leave again, at which point Anders finally gets the hint he is no longer welcome, bids Hawke good luck, and leaves permanently.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever he starts losing himself to Vengeance, his eyes glow blue.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: He's obsessed with helping mages until they turn out to blood mages—then their plight is their own fault. It even gets to the point that he tends to excuse all mage violence against Templars as "self-defense," but if a maleficar uses blood magic for the same reason he condemns it as actions that makes "good mages" like himself look bad. He also draws a clear line in the sand between mages communing with "good spirits" like he did (Justice), and "bad" demons like Merrill did (Audacity).
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nicknamed "Blondie" by Varric, but the trope is continually zigzagged; he's grim and understands that change for mages will come slowly, if at all, though he does get a few kind moments in from time to time. By Act 3, very little of his kind-healer-fighting-against-his-darker-side persona remains.
  • Headbutting Heroes: He and Sebastian clash quite a bit, and he goes back and forth between having this vibe and a Vitriolic Best Buds one with Aveline, depending on the day and topic of discussion.
  • Hearing Voices: The rest of the party occasionally refer to Justice/Vengeance as a voice in Anders' head, though it's a bit more complicated than that. If he comes along for Legacy, he eventually starts hearing Corypheus' voice in his head as well and briefly is forced under his control.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Vengeance (almost) kills a mage girl they had just saved from being made Tranquil, he realizes his control is slipping. While Hawke may help him through this (or not), the codex says he abandons the cause of mages for a few years in regret.
  • Hero of Another Story: Though we never see it, and he never tells Hawke outright so they won't have to lie to Aveline, over the course of the game it is heavily implied that Anders has been doing things such as breaking into the Gallows, fighting Templars to rescue mages, helping apostates flee the cities, and other such dramatic actions. Not that Hawke's other companions have dull lives, but most aren't quite as fraught as his seems.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Points out that Mage!Hawke has done much to help the plight of mages in the city and could easily be the leader the Underground so desperately needs. Hawke's stubborn refusal to get into politics eventually forces Anders to implement his own "solution" to the problem.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: First hint something's wrong during "Justice". He keeps glancing around nervously and sometimes just trails off or switches tracks in the middle of a sentence.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Eventually blows up the Chantry, with the Grand Cleric and more than a hundred people inside so that a compromise cannot be reached and the mages and Templars will have to fight a war. Not to mention turning Justice possessing him into Vengeance to use the phrase more literally.
    Anders: I removed the chance of compromise, because there is no compromise!
  • Hot-Blooded: Deconstructed. His passion for mage liberation is what kicks off the Mage-Templar war.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He has been possessed by the Spirit of Justice, who becomes a Demon of Vengeance. If he's a Rival, he blames it on himself more than usual.
  • Hurting Hero: He's not a very happy person, to say the least.
  • Hypocrite: Oh, where do we even start?
    • He criticizes Merrill about her obsession with the eluvian and her casual views on Fade spirits. She will in turn point out his own obsession with the Circle and how he willingly let a "good" spirit into his body. Anders is self-aware of this, and at one point wonders if this makes him unqualified to help mages.
    • If Hawke romances Fenris, Anders claims that Fenris has "let one bad experience colour his entire world" and that he deserves Hawke's heart instead for being more "open-minded". This is despite how Anders disrespects Fenris for not sharing his pro-mage stance, which Fenris calls him out on if he is in the party.
    • Anders also disapproves of Hawke romancing Merrill, alleging that she'll eventually turn on Hawke in favor of her demons. She calls him out on this if present for the conversation. The hypocrisy of this hits critical mass when you realize that he says this during a quest where he's tricking Hawke into helping him blow up the Chantry. Though to Anders' credit he seems aware of this, and opines that he doesn't deserve Hawke's love anyway if in a romance.
    • Despite Anders being vehement about how wrong it is to enslave mages, he is the only companion to approve if Hawke sells Fenris back to Danarius. This is actually a fairly apt reflection of the "Night Terrors" quest, where Fenris will normally disapprove of Hawke making a deal with the sloth demon but approve if Anders is in the party just because it pisses off his rival.
    • Anders believes that all mages' opinions should be heard... unless they actually enjoy being in the Circle (like Bethany does if she joins).
    • If spared after destroying the Chantry and brought to confront Meredith, him calling out her zealotry as "madness" could be construed as such.
    • While more downplayed than the above, relating back to his hypocrisy in Awakening he can suggest in party banter that elves should band together to help mages since they too are oppressed by the Chantry, yet Anders himself offers no help to elves.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point:
    • Despite his frequent hypocrisy on the matter, many of Anders's points about the Circle of Magi and its flaws are shown to be correct.
    • His frequent criticism of Merrill. Even though Anders did screw up far worse than her when it comes to dealing with spirits, Merrill would have ended up exactly the same way if not for Marethari's intervention.
  • Hypocritical Humour: There's a lot of this if the player looks closely. In Mark of the Assassin, there is a scene where Anders gets so exasperated with Fenris, he straight up begs him to shut up about how all mages are evil for one minute. The whole conversation is a brilliant jab at his own obsession with mage freedom.
    Anders: Qunari give me the creeps. No one is that dedicated to some abstract ideal.
  • I Am a Monster: He starts invoking this trope in Act 2, especially if Hawke fails to stop him from killing Ella. By the time Act 3 rolls around, he's pretty much resigned himself to being a monster. Though how much guilt he explicitly shows depends on whether Hawke has followed his rivalry path. If rivalry is not completed, Anders only seems to feel that blowing up the Chantry is an unfortunate necessity and only seems willing to let Hawke kill him so he can become a martyr for the Mage cause, even telling Hawke to hurry up and kill him at one point. However, if Anders' rivalry path is followed, he is genuinely horrified at what he's done and wants Hawke to kill him out of legitimate guilt. He is so shaken by what he's done that he'll even side with the Templars, something non-rivalry Anders will flat out refuse to do.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Despite quickly developing a crush on Hawke, Anders makes it clear if Hawke romances him that he feels unworthy of their affection.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: A non-rivalry Anders has this attitude about blowing up the Chantry. He is fully convinced he did the right thing and will refuse to help Hawke side with the Templars no matter what. Averted with rivalry!Anders who is completely horrified by what he's done.
  • An Ice Person: One of his starting spells is Winter's Grasp. It also makes for an interesting take on his character given that in Awakening, he was first seen using fire magic.
  • Insecure Love Interest: While almost all the party members in this game have serious self-worth issues, Anders is probably the most vocal about it if Hawke tries to romance him, repeatedly telling them that he has nothing to offer and that Hawke should be free to have a normal life with someone else. If Hawke is not a mage, It's Not You, It's My Enemies also comes up, since Meredith starts declaring that anyone who shelters an apostate will face a death penalty.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: He all but invokes this by name the first time Hawke tries to flirt with him, saying that there was a time when they could have had something, but he's no longer the same man he once was. (And yet, if Hawke doesn't flirt with him the first time it's possible, it causes a bit of rivalry.)
    Anders: I'll break your heart — and that might kill me as surely as the Templars.
  • I've Come Too Far: No matter how many times he screws up or fails to convince people of his cause, Anders just keeps pursuing his cause further and further, believing it's too late to stop now.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: After "Dissent," he tries to invoke this with Merrill. She points out that she at least understands the dangers better than he did before merging with Justice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Anders can be very petty and hypocritical. But in the end, all he wants is to help people, and he's willing to go to grand lengths to do so. Unfortunately, he's not stable enough to always know how best to help people.
    • An apt demonstration? After Merrill's Act 3 personal quest, which gets her mentor/surrogate mother figure killed to save her from the demon in the Eluvian, he starts out lambasting her for the consequences of it, which he thinks could have been easily avoided, before telling her to make up for her mistakes, reminding her that most blood mages don't get a second chance.
    • There's also the fact that when he isn't running around with Hawke or helping the Mage Underground, he spends his free time attending poor people for free in his clinic in Darktown.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Anders may harp on and on (and on) about the cause of mages' freedom beyond a reasonable degree, but the game shows several times that his arguments are not baseless. Many Templars do abuse their authority; some of the apostates the party meets are just ordinary people who want to be left alone or take care of their families; he mentions how mages who get pregnant at the Circle have their babies taken away from them by the Chantry (which happened to Wynne); and the Rite of Tranquility is used by Templars to silence the dissenters or even for sexual abuse (as shown with Ser Alrik) and is revealed to be a horrific experience both by his friend and former lover, Karl and especially by Pharamond in Asunder.
    Anders: The people fear what we can do, but to use that fear to bludgeon us into submission is wrong! And they do it with our blessing!
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In the beginning of the game, as far as mages are concerned; while he firmly advocates their freedom and rejects turning them over to the Templars, Anders is actually quite reasonable. He outright condemns blood magic and demons, allows murder only as a last resort, and is perfectly willing to work with reasonable men like Thrask. By Act 3, that persona is all but gone, and he refuses to accept anything less than total freedom for all mages, no exceptions. Thus, "no compromise" when he blows up the Chantry.
  • Karma Houdini: The decision to have him killed for the destruction of the Chantry rests with the player, so this trope can be played straight or subverted. But even if the player does decide to kill him, he gets the war he wanted. If he lives, Sebastian vows to make sure Anders will face justice someday.
    • Word of God subverts this, though, saying he wants to die for what he's done, so that the people he's killed will get justice in kind. See Cruel Mercy and Death Seeker above.
  • Kick the Dog: Several times.
    • If he and Aveline are in the party, he may start making some very nasty comments on her and Wesley's sex life.
    • If the player brings him along for Merrill's second companion quest, he'll flat-out say to her that she should have died instead of Keeper Marethari. Ouch.
      • At least he follows up the unsavoury remarks on Merrill's quest by urging her to make up for the mistakes she made that led to it; somehow, Fenris never manages to do that.
    • Approving of selling Fenris back to Danarius. The rest of the party unanimously disapprove.
    • If Anders is brought along in the quest "All That Remains," perhaps more out of thoughtlessness than anything else, he may say, "I wonder if we'll find more than just a sack of bones this time." He says this while standing right next to a very distraught Hawke, who's desperately running around trying to find their mother after she's been kidnapped by a deranged serial killer. Definitely not the thing you should say, Anders.
  • Killed Off for Real: In Bioware's "official" canon, in which all the books and comics take place, Anders was killed after blowing up the Chantry. Whether he is dead in-game is still up to the player, however.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Sadly, Anders had his cat Ser Pounce-A-Lot confiscated by the Grey Wardens after it nearly got him killed by accident. He's still very fond of cats, and puts out milk for the local strays. He even has banter with Merrill in which he wistfully longs for a tabby cat of his own. Ultimately subverted when Anders jumps off the slippery slope, though it's worth noting that he doesn't have his cat anymore by that time.
  • Knight Templar: Becomes one, ironically, towards the Templars over the course of the game.
  • Light Is Not Good: However, despite his black outfit, he is a healer mage, which invokes more light than dark.
  • Love at First Sight: If Anders is romanced, after his first night with Hawke in Act 2, he tells them that he's "lain awake every night for the past three years, aching for you." Since it's been three years since they met, this trope is fairly strongly implied. There are other hints that Anders may be in love with Hawke the whole time even if he's not romanced.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Inverted; if his romance is pursued, his Act 3 codex entry explicitly states that he views Hawke as the one thing in his life keeping him sane. Not that it makes a difference in the end.
  • Manifesto-Making Malcontent: In Act 2, he starts writing a manifesto calling for the abolition of the Circles of Magi and spreading it around Kirkwall (but mainly around Hawke's mansion). In Act 3, he stops working on it, and instead becomes a Bomb Throwing Anarchist.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Anders lies to Hawke and co. to get them to help him gather reagents to blow up the Chantry, telling them it's for a potion to rid him of Justice. It especially stings if Hawke is in a relationship with him.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Starts off entirely open about his pro-mage agenda. Eventually, he becomes less than honest and uses Hawke for his own purposes. It very much seems, however, that he regrets doing this if nothing else.
  • Misery Poker: Frequently dismisses the suffering of other groups (particularly slaves and elves) by stating or implying that Circle mages have it worse.
    • This is also the root of his mutual rivalry with Fenris: Fenris often dismisses the plight of Southern Thedas mages on the grounds that he believes Tevinter slaves suffer worse under Tevinter magisters, while Anders frequently dismisses the plight of slaves like Fenris on the grounds that he believes Southern Thedas mages have it worse under the Templars. Their fighting can get vicious and personal about it.
  • Mood-Swinger: Stated in the codex to suffer from manic and depressive phases as of Act 3. His dialogue throughout the game tends to reflect this, ranging from calm and caring, to cheerful and snarky, to obsessively focused on his goals, to self-righteously grandiose, to self-loathing and miserable, to vengeful and bloodthirsty, with alarming speed.
  • Morality Pet: By Act 3, Varric and (possibly) Hawke have become this for him, as he is much more distant, if not hostile, toward the rest of the party at that point. He even admits to a romanced Hawke that they are one of the few things he thinks are keeping him sane.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He falls under Troubled, but Cute for some, but even aesthetically he comes across as a rugged, handsome man. The Blooming Rose has apparently offered him a job enough times to get annoying.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: If player chooses to kill him after he blows up the Chantry.
  • My Greatest Failure
    • Allowing Justice to possess him, which turned one of his closest friends into a demon. Though this may not be his fault...
    • During one of his companion quests, he loses control of Vengeance and threatens (possibly kills) an innocent girl.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If Hawke is on a Rivalry path with him, he expresses much more regret about blowing up the Chantry, and even states that Justice may have become a demon from the moment they merged.
    • If Hawke is on the Rivalry path, after completing "Justice," Hawke can convince Anders to undo whatever it was he was doing in the Chantry at the end of the quest, with Anders becoming horrified at the prospect of actually succeeding and running off to stop it before it is too late. Since the Chantry explosion still happens, it seems that Justice sabotaged this attempt.
      • While he regrets it more blatantly during the Rivalry route, however, he's also much quicker to pin all the blame on "Vengeance", insisting that he had no control over the situation. While he's more understated about his regret, it's only in the Friendship route that he fully admits to his own role in what happened and calmly states that if Hawke were to execute him, Justice would be freed as a result. He isn't as visibly upset, but he doesn't shift responsibility either.
    • The end of "Dissent" in Act 2, which is nine times worse if Ella actually ends up dead.
  • Necessarily Evil: He recognizes that blowing up the Chantry is a horrible thing to do, and does seem to feel guilty about it, but he honestly believes it's for the best.
    • Subverted if he's in a Rivalry with Hawke; he becomes convinced that he's evil by the end.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Justice doesn't let him get drunk anymore, making him a type 3. He still visits the Hanged Man occasionally, as it's the only place in town he can get a decent drink.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: If romanced, he mentions in Mark of The Assassin that one of his sexual fantasies is being rescued by Hawke right before he's to undergo the Rite of Tranquility, and then expressing his gratitude in a myriad creative ways.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Like all mages in Awakening, he can be specialized as a Blood Mage. There's even a special branch of dialogue devoted to discussing that fact. In this game, however, he possesses no such powers, and takes an extremely dim view of Merrill's involvement in blood magic.
  • No Place for Me There: He fully expects to be killed for the things he has done to free the mages.
  • Not as You Know Them: Thanks to the fusion with Justice. If he's happy, some of the old Anders will resurface for a time.
  • Not Good with Rejection: After finishing his first personal quest, Anders starts to flirt with Hawke. Hawke either has to flirt back or refuse his advances; choosing the latter causes him to react in a quite huffy manner, and it nets a fairly high amount of rivalry points. This is not the case with the other love interests, who won't hold it against Hawke if the player rejects their advances as no loss of approval occurs.
  • Not So Different:
    • From Fenris, despite claims to the contrary. Both have similar backgrounds as members of oppressed populations and share an unreasonable hatred of anybody belonging to the same groups as their oppressors. They both enjoy taking the opportunity to somewhat pettily snipe at anybody who disagrees with their views, especially each other. They also both particularly despise blood magic. The only notable difference between them, aside from their opinions, is that Fenris hasn't started a war yet.
    • Also from Merrill. Even though he isn't a blood mage like she is, both of them dealt with potentially dangerous Fade spirits... with terrible consequences for themselves and others.
    • From Aveline, surprisingly, in that they are both devoted to their causes and have a lost love interest. This similarity increases if Aveline was the one to Mercy Kill Wesley.
    • The further the game goes, the more Anders's extremism and no compromises attitude resembles Meredith's, to the extent that he preempts her upcoming atrocity with one of his own.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: According to Word of God, Anders is a nickname because his family is from the Anderfels.
  • Outlaw Couple: If Hawke romances Anders, spares his life after he blows up the Chantry, and commits to him before the Final Battle, the two of them will go on the run together, since he is now the most wanted man in Thedas.
  • Perma-Stubble: He gets some light beard trimming along his jaw and on his chin.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • His treatment of the refugees, as well as the others forced to live in Darktown, to the point where they are willing to risk their lives for him.
    • Alhough he always treats Aveline with suspicion due to the City Guards working with Templars on occasion, he is relatively lighthearted and supportive of her attempts to woo Donnic in Act 2.
    • At the end of "All That Remains," if he goes to comfort Hawke and they yell at him for what an insane blood mage did to their mother, he only tells Hawke that if it helps, they should take their anger out on him.
    • He's actually quite compassionate with Merrill when he tells her that he can't heal Pol. Of course, this is immediately subverted by the vicious way he chews her out the entire trek back to camp.
    • If Anders is romanced and moves in with Hawke, Bodahn comments on how nice it is having Anders around; both Bodahn and Sandal take quite a liking to him.
      Bodahn: It's been quite pleasant having Master Anders staying here, messere.
      Sandal: [happily] He's funny!
      Bodahn: And he finds my boy's enchanting quite intriguing. That's the word he used! It's too bad he seems so... intent on whatever it is he works on.
  • Principles Zealot: While not as bad about it as the Qunari (he compromises in "All That Remains" due to the serious circumstances), due to a glitch, he was the only party member who could not be convinced to side against his faction. This was fixed in a later patch.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Whether the player agrees with his solution or not, he's not wrong about the kind of abuses going on in the Gallows (or other Circles). There's also dialogue overheard from Templars that implies that Meredith was going to invoke the Rite of Annulment on the Kirkwall Circle anyway, which would have caused all the mages to be killed without any attention being drawn to it. The next game reveals that it wouldn't have been the first time that happened.
    • Zigzagged with "The Tranquil Solution," which he panics over in Act 2, only to find out that the Divine rejected it. He is surprised and wonders if there is hope for negotiation after all... but he's not entirely convinced it isn't a threat, and there are other Templar characters (such as Cullen) who aren't entirely opposed to the idea.
      Sebastian: The Chantry would never follow through with such a thing.
      Anders: Yet.
  • Power Perversion Potential: A conversation with Isabela reveals that he uses magic for sexual applications. "Were you the runaway mage who could do that electricity thing? That was nice."
  • Redemption Failure: After "Dissent", he distances himself from the mage underground and tries to find a way to control Justice or undo their merger. By Act 3, everyone he knows outside the party has been killed or forced into hiding, and he's only protected by his proximity to Hawke.
  • Retcon: If Anders died in Awakening, it turns out the corpse Nathaniel found was badly burnt and they just assumed it was him.
  • Rooting for the Empire: An In-Universe example. Almost every character the player comes across since Origins have described Tevinter as, if not evil, at least a dangerous place to be in given that there, mages have absolute freedom — which is why Anders sees Tevinter as an ideal place. Additionally, the only gift Hawke can give to him is a Tevinter Chantry amulet.
  • Running Gag:
    • Hawke manages to find bits of Anders' manifesto everywhere.
    • He's terrible at card games, and everyone in the party knows it. In Mark of the Assassin, he proudly announces that he actually beat Isabela. With supernatural help, but hey, she was cheating too!
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Compare his behavior in Act 1 to his behavior in Act 3.
    • If brought along for Legacy, Corypheus' voice starts sounding in his head, which pushes him almost to the point of a complete breakdown. At one point he is forced under Corypheus' control, and the party has to fight him to get him to snap out of it.
  • Self-Deprecation: There are times where he makes it plain he knows exactly how he comes across, especially if Hawke is romancing him and even more so if they are Rivals. Sometimes he takes lighthearted jabs at his own behavior, but other times it's a bit more serious.
    Anders: Orlesian.
    Varric: Fop. Um... Party.
    Anders: Crash!
    Varric: Seriously, Blondie? No one ever invites you anywhere?
    Anders: (softly) Would you?
  • Shoot the Dog:
    • His friend and lover Karl begs Anders to kill him rather than continue living as a Tranquil, when a Justice outburst momentarily reconnects Karl to Fade energies.
    • He invokes this on himself after blowing up the Chantry in Act 3.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: The plight of mages, especially those oppressed by the Chantry and Templars. Quickly became notorious for this in-universe and out. See The Friend Nobody Likes for more details.
    Carver: I don't hate you because you're a mage. I hate you because you won't shut up about it. Oppression this, Templars that.
  • Split Personality: Between his own mind and Vengeance.
  • Squishy Wizard: He's a mage, and not a blood mage, so he'll likely have very little constitution. His vengeance talent increases his damage in exchange for damage resistance, thus making him even more of this, as well as a Glass Cannon.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: While Isabela has always been openly bi, and we don't know enough about Merrill and Fenris when we meet them to suggest they're not, Anders did not come across as anything but straight when he first appeared in Awakening, flirting with the ladies in the party and talking about how he wants to settle down with a nice girl one day.
  • Suicide by Cop: Played straight or averted in Act 3 depending on the player's choices.
  • Token Evil Teammate: If the player chooses to spare him and keep him in Hawke's party in Act 3. Depending on the player's views, he can be this the entire game.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sort of. He starts out like a more cynical version of his Awakening persona in Act 1, but he ends up getting gradually nastier as the acts go on, though he never loses sight of his long-term goals.
  • Tragic Hero: His intentions are good — very good, in fact — but his own methods for enacting them are not so noble and he occasionally shoots himself in the foot. Eventually he gets what he wants... but the cost of it is immense, and the general consensus is that it was not worth everything that happened, in the interim and afterwards.
  • Tragic Keepsake: When the templars forcibly took him to the Circle, the only personal possession he was allowed to keep was a pillow hand-embroidered by his mother. Before he goes on his quest to blow up the Chantry, he offers the pillow to Varric, saying that the latter has been his good friend.
  • Tragic Mistake: Unusually, it takes place between games at the midpoint of his story (so far). He genuinely wanted to help Justice, but neither of them were remotely prepared for the actual consequences of the merger.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He has a few moments of this.
  • Übermensch: His goals regarding the Mages are transformative, to say the least, and he breaks a lot of eggs to get there, knowing full well he will probably be either killed or hated for his actions. Nevertheless, in his mind, society has to change or he will make it change.
  • The Unfettered: His self-restraint gradually erodes over the course of the game until he tears down the existing dynamic between the Chantry, the Templars, and the Circle to force them into conflict, and it seems Justice/Vengeance helped him get there.
  • Was It All a Lie?: A romanced Hawke will ask this of him after he blows up the Chantry. The answer is that no, his love was not a lie.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Can be either played straight or subverted. If Hawke tells him to run after he blows up the Chantry, he will still return to them in the Gallows. Naturally, what happens after that is up to the player.
    • In Inquisition, Varric also notes that many of the mages in Kirkwall and its surrounding territory had this reaction upon seeing him. Turns out, some people aren't so happy when you put their lives at risk to purposely start a war. It got to the point Anders basically just left them alone because they wanted nothing to do with him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He falls further and further into this as his efforts to help the mages fail to leave any impact, culminating in destroying the Kirkwall Chantry to force an open conflict.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives a big one to Hawke if they choose to let a demon possess Feynriel, and strikes down Justice when he objects. If he's in a romance with Hawke at this point, some fast talking will have to be done, or he'll break it off at once.
    • Hawke can demand an explanation for blowing up the Chantry at the start of the endgame.
    • If Hakwe supports the Templars, especially if they are a mage, he will call them out on it and say that they should use their influence and money to help mages in Kirkwall.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Justice's influence hasn't particularly been good for his host's mental state.
  • With Us or Against Us: As part of his decline, by Act 3 he's become paranoid of anyone who does not explicitly share his views on granting mages immediate freedom. He goes so far as to blow up the Kirkwall Chantry alongside the only political figure capable of pacifying both Templars and mages, just to ensure that everybody would have to pick a side.
    • Gets very hostile towards even pro-mage Hawke if they suggest that some of his methods are too extreme, and basically treats everyone not firmly supporting his ideas as an enemy.
    • This is downplayed in the Rivalry path, however, where Anders begins to have serious self-doubts and will outright agree with Hawke that he's taking things too far. Though elements are most certainly present (RE: Fenris).
  • A Wizard Did It: Invoked. "A wizard did it" is his sarcastic reply if he's in the party when Hawke gives the Deep Roads maps to Bartrand. The reality is that he stole them - which actually makes it technically true.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Becomes this by the end of the game. After a time growing up in the Mages Circle (a life stuck in a tower, bound to do whatever the Chantry asked of him), he escaped from the Templars... seven times. On the last time, he joined the Grey Wardens to escape more permanently. It's all downhill for him after that, unfortunately. His time there under the Warden-Commander is implied to be good; but once they leave, the Orlesian Grey Wardens who run Amaranthine in their absence consider him a wuss, and mock him enough that he bails. Then he lets a wayward Spirit of Justice (once a friend of his) into his body. The sheer dark magic of Kirkwall, in addition to Anders' own resentment and anger, corrupts Justice into a Demon of Vengeance. By the time Dragon Age II begins, he's constantly fighting for control over the influence of Vengeance/Justice. In the final act, though, he can't fight Justice off anymore, and destroys the local branch of the Chantry. Talk about a Trauma Conga Line. Ultimately, his fate is left up to Hawke.
  • You Are What You Hate: Grows increasingly more militant and preachy about the mage cause throughout the game. His companions don't miss a beat in letting him know the irony.
  • You Remind Me of X: He remarks to Hawke at one point that "I had a friend like you once. Got in all kinds of trouble, dragged me along." It's suggested, though never stated, that this friend was the Warden-Commander.


The Spirit of Justice

Voiced by: Adam Leadbeater (Dragon Age Origins - Awakening), Adam Leadbeater and Adam Howden (Dragon Age II)

    Tropes In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
"I have no name, only a virtue to which I aspire."

A benevolent Fade Spirit trapped in the corpse of a Grey Warden named Kristoff who joins the Warden’s party during the events of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

  • Bald of Awesome: Kristoff was bald before Justice was trapped in his body.
  • Berserk Button: Suggesting that he's Not So Different from demons. This carries over to Dragon Age II, and can lead to him murdering an innocent young mage unless Hawke stops him.
  • Character Development: Starting off as disdainful of the material world and more dutiful than anything else, Justice can eventually come to learn that the world is beautiful in its own way and be a true Knight in Shining Armor protecting that for which he has come to care.
  • Chaste Hero: He has no clue as to why Oghren keeps asking him about his memories of Kristoff's marriage. It's a human desire, and benevolent spirits really don't go in for that.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: His flesh is decaying and he wears the dark colored Armor of the Sentinel in his trailer.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Comes with being Literal-Minded.
  • Foreshadowing: His eventual transformation into Vengeance and connection to Anders in Dragon Age II is heavily foreshadowed in his dialogue, with Anders, Nathaniel, and the Warden-Commander. At several points, the Warden-Commander can even outright ask him if he desires vengeance for Kristoff.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: He states upfront that he doesn't understand what makes spirits become demons, and hopes he never finds out.
  • Happy Ending Override: Nearly all of his endings have him leaving Kristoff's body and presumably returning to the Fade, but he always reappears merged with Anders in the next game.
  • Honor Before Reason: As a sort of embodiment of justice, he believes that wrongdoers should be dealt with accordingly, even if it may not be the most pragmatic decision. Unless he's talked down, he'll turn against the Warden-Commander should the latter decide to ally with the Architect.
    • After seeing the injustices mages face, he ends up causing his new host, Anders, to blow up the Kirkwall Chantry in Dragon Age II, and in doing so, ignite a world war between the mages and Templars throughout Thedas.
  • Humanoid Abomination: A benevolent one, but still an alien entity that doesn't understand human attitudes occupying the shape of a human.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: His true form and personality, though he starts off seeing it more as an obligation.
  • Large Ham: In his spirit form. Considering the Spirit of Valor encountered in the Mage Origin, this may be common to all benevolent Fade spirits.
  • Literal-Minded: It takes him a while to understand that Sigrun's death is symbolic.
  • Magic Knight: His default specialization, Spirit Warrior.
  • Motive Decay: In-Universe. His quest for Justice becomes one of Vengeance between games.
  • Shout-Out: He's not the first embodiment of justice trapped in physical form after the physical form has died and begun to wither. He's just a lot nicer about it.
  • Warrior Poet: "A world so full of beauty that beauty goes overlooked."
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Justice finds himself envious of the love between Kristoff and his widow Aura, but also associates such feelings with Desire Demons.

    Tropes In Dragon Age II

After the end of the Darkspawn threat Anders became Justice's new human host in a joint effort to free mages from the Circle. But Anders' anger at this injustice corrupted the spirit; by the time Hawke meets them, he has become Vengeance.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Did he become a Knight Templar but remain a spirit, or does he fall from grace and become a true demon? Anders' opinion changes depending on whether he's a Friend or a Rival, and it's up to the player to figure this out on their own as well.
  • And I Must Scream: Anders talks about the terrifying sensation of being trapped inside his own body and unable to do or say anything after Justice briefly became the dominant personality during "Night Terrors," then remarks sadly that Justice must feel like that all the time. No wonder he's become a grouch.
  • Berserk Button: Shares them with Anders, plus a bonus berserk - don't call him a demon.
  • Black and White Insanity: Much of his morality can be seen as this. Add in some of the Blue and Orange Morality inherent with Fade spirits and you have an entity with an unbending idea of what it thinks is right but with zero concept of compassion or compromise.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Vengeance does not understand time (time doesn't matter in the Fade) and doesn't truly understand things like "mercy" or "forgiveness." Thus he is driven by the unyielding desire to constantly lash out at the injustices Anders perceives, regardless of who it ultimately hurts, and always immediately, never after some time to cool off.
  • Break the Haughty: Justice's transformation into Vengeance. Could also count as Break the Cutie, personality-wise, seeing as he was an idealistic, good, poetic spirit before becoming twisted by hate.
  • Enemy Within: For Anders.
  • Fallen Hero: The difference between Vengeance and a true demon is practically non-existent.
  • Foreshadowing: In Awakening, Anders and Justice had a conversation about the differences between spirits and demons and whether Justice could become a demon. May also count as Harsher in Hindsight.
    • Another conversation between Justice and Nathaniel about what would happen to Justice after the decay of Kristoff's body ends with him considering the idea of possessing a willing living human host...
    • The Warden can even ask Justice if he desires revenge for what happened to Kristoff and tell him that there is a thin line between avenging a wrong and outright vengeance.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While various party members have their own opinions on Anders, at least until Act 3, everyone seems very vocal in their clear dislike of Justice. Justice apparently returns the sentiment, even toward Hawke, the only person who might be willing to listen to Anders' lectures. Anders mentions that Justice feels (especially if romanced) that his obsession with and hero-worship towards them is distracting him from the cause.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: During the sidequest "Night Terrors," Justice takes control of Anders and fights alongside Hawke.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Inverted. While Justice originally encouraged Anders to seek freedom for all mages, Anders wanted revenge more than justice, and Justice was corrupted.
  • Hypocrite: When accused by a terrified mage of being a demon, due to his possession of Anders, he goes into a blind rage and attacks her for the insult. If Hawke fails to calm him, Vengeance will murder a mage he was supposed to be saving from corrupt Templars.
  • Knight Templar: He still seeks to protect the weak and punish the wicked, but Anders' anger has made him completely merciless.
  • Large Ham: As hammy as before.
  • Moral Event Horizon: An in-universe example. Anders will consider this to be Justice's (and by extension his own) in Act 2 if he isn't restrained and ends up murdering a young girl. Even if Hawke does stop him, it still shocks him to the core. Vengeance, on the other hand, is much quicker to throw this label around.
  • Not as You Know Them: Anders' repressed bitterness has turned Justice from "inflexible but good-hearted" to a trigger-happy Knight Templar who only manifests when Anders completely loses control. He acts much more like his old self in "Night Terrors."
    • The fact that he acts more like his old self in "Night Terrors" might imply that we only see him outside the Fade when he's completely enraged. When not ticked off, he seems pretty much the same - just with a harsher view of right and wrong. Specifically, he seems to have picked up a heavy amount of Black and White Insanity.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Pretty much embodies this.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: For Anders.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Anders constantly fights to keep Vengeance under control - but occasionally Vengeance comes out. When he does, Anders' eyes glow blue and he shifts into Voice of the Legion.
    • If he's a Rival, Anders reveals he's been suffering blackouts in Act 3, which only had previously happened when Justice took control. This heavily implies that Justice is now actively vying to control Anders.
    • This trope is heavily downplayed, however, if Anders is a Friend to Hawke, in which he is more open to admitting that they are two sides of the same person now.
  • Voice of the Legion: Speaks with both the booming, echoing voice of Justice, and Anders' voice underneath it. If the player listens closely, there are times where their tone of voice differs, hinting at the personality conflict.
  • Volcanic Veins: It makes Anders' veins (and eyes) glow blue.
  • What Have I Done: Anders blames himself for Justice's corruption. The Enigma of Kirkwall texts imply, however, that the Tevinter blood magic under Kirkwall may have been at the very least partly responsible, in addition to his own anger and resentment. And let's not forget about what's under Kirkwall...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Justice/Vengeance won't turn on Hawke in the Fade unless the player agrees to let a demon possess Feynriel.
  • With Us or Against Us: Vengeance is significantly less discerning about who qualifies as ally or enemy than he used to be.


Varric Tethras

First Appearance: Dragon Age II
Voiced by: Brian Bloom

    Tropes In Dragon Age II
"Opinions are like testicles — you kick them hard enough, doesn't matter how many you got."

A friendly Surface Dwarf with an Automatic Crossbow and a fondness for storytelling. Varric serves as the narrator of Dragon Age II, with the backdrop set in 9:40 Dragon being his relating the history of the Champion to the Seeker, Cassandra Pentaghast and attempting to set the story straight as he was a companion to the Champion during that time.

  • Anti-Hero: A little greedy, but when it comes down to it, he's actually more moral than most of the residents of Kirkwall put together. Not that that's really too difficult...
  • Automatic Crossbow: With sufficient upgrades, Bianca eventually becomes this.
  • Badass Longcoat: Well, it's long for a dwarf.
  • Berserk Button: Seen in the Act 2 quest "Fool's Gold."note  Because the quest focuses on a dwarf betraying his younger brother in order to find wealth, Varric will make repeated comments about how familiar it all feels, referencing the events of the Deep Roads expedition. If Hawke saves Iwan instead of Merin, then corroborates Iwan's story to his father, Varric will confront Iwan about his clear lack of guilt over his brother's death. The quest ends with Varric watching him walk away, audibly and visibly angry.
    Varric: You little shit.
  • Best Friend: Varric's friendship with Hawke is the strongest non-romantic relationship in the entire franchise, and even surpasses most of those as well. Notably, when Hawke becomes a fugitive, Varric is the only one (apart from their Love Interest, if they accompanied Hawke on the run) who knows where Hawke is. He clearly likes the Inquisitor, but when Hawke shows up, it's clear which one he follows due to a common goal, and which he follows out of an extremely strong bond.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Demonstrates this toward Bethany, perhaps because of their early Party Banter in which she talks about how much she misses Carver. He also behaves this way a lot toward Merrill.
    • He also shows this toward Hawke, evincing concern they might get hurt in a romantic relationship with any of the companions.
  • BFG: Bianca, Varric's tricked-out, custom-made, and rather large crossbow.
  • Breakout Character: Despite debuting in the most controversial game in the series, he's one of the franchise's most popular characters. He was the only one universally well-received from II, and since then has been the star of three comic series and one of the only characters to be a constant party member in more than one game.
  • Buxom Is Better: Varric certainly thinks so in regards to Bethany, as demonstrated in her character model when he starts telling the story. When Cassandra tells him to knock it off, she's far more modestly endowed. Female Hawke, on the other hand, gets no such upgrades.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to his brother Bartrand.
  • Cargo Ship: Invoked. His fondness for Bianca often rolls past mere praise into the realm of flirtation. He's not a romance option because he's already found the love of his life. The devs specifically made Bianca level up with Varric so as to make players never want to part the two without breaking the game. It gets lampshaded several times.
    • He gets very protective when Isabela suggests Bianca "deserves to feel a woman's touch on her trigger", and again when Sebastian asks if he can examine Bianca's cocking ring, even though Sebastian's intentions were pure (he wanted to see if she was firing off to the side because of a mechanical fault). In a form of Hypocritical Humor, he may turn down advances from fem!Hawke on the grounds of Bianca being "the jealous type".
    • When Merrill asks Sebastian if his bow has a name like Varric's, Sebastian notes wryly that he can't compete with Varric's "relationship" to his weapon.
    • Fenris grunts that the way Varric fondles his weapon is disgusting. Varric claims he's a perfect gentleman... in public.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Iron Bull notes that Bianca would never work as a Safe Word for Varric since a safe word has to be something you wouldn't normally yell during sex. The same game also reveals that Bianca is named after his old girlfriend, which just adds even more to it. And at one point, when Varric asks the Iron Bull what the deal is with Qunari and their swords, Bull points out that Varric named his weapon after a woman; Varric concedes the point.
    • In keeping with some of the tarot themes in Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition had a real tarot deck as one of the included items. The card for The Lovers in that deck is a picture of Varric holding Bianca.
  • Carpet of Virility: Notable, as he's the first BioWare character since The Black Whirlwind with real chest hair. Fenris lampshades this when he asks why Varric doesn't have a beard, and guesses that it "fell down onto [his] chest." Enhanced by a rare example of male Absolute Cleavage.
  • The Charmer: Word of God has said that no matter what danger he's in, the moment you let Varric begin to talk, he's won.
  • City Mouse: Varric isn't comfortable anywhere without streets and buildings. He likes the ground to be horizontal, thank you.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Spare Gascard early in the game and he'll aid Hawke in the search for their mother. Then it turns out that he's the necromancer's apprentice and is only interested in learning the rest of his secrets. Varric will promptly shoot him in the throat.
    Varric: What? You were going to do that, right?
  • Consummate Liar: His ability to spin up a good line of bullshit can help Hawke avoid a fight once in a while. He lampshades this in a party banter with Aveline, where he says he lies a lot. Subverted if he tries this with Merrill in the party, as she will always absentmindedly correct him.
  • Covert Pervert: While he does flirt shamelessly with Isabela and bemoan a lack of dwarven barmaids, Varric's otherwise more interested in being a Deadpan Snarker... until Aveline convinces him to do some recruitment posters for the city guard. He intentionally swaps the text with those for the local brothel's recruitment. This leads to a Funny Moment when Aveline points out that while he filled the city guardhouse with whores, he filled the brothel with guardsmen.
    • Isabela shares her "friend-fiction" with him. He finds it hilarious.
    • We also get his Buxom Is Better treatment of Bethany above.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's practically his stated purpose in life, apart from dodging Merchants' Guild meetings and 'dramatizing' Hawke's life story. In the entire game, Snarky!Hawke is the only one who outdoes him.
  • Defensive "What?": Pulls this on Cassandra when she calls him out on his... less-than-accurate version of the Bartrand confrontation.
  • The Dutiful Son: Varric played this role when he was a kid, taking care of his alcoholic mother, as Bartrand was too busy building their business empire.
  • Establishing Character Moment: No matter whether the player approaches it narratively or chronologically, Varric gets one.
    • Narrative: After being forcibly dragged into a dark room by heavily armored men, he immediately begins snarking. He does not stop. After being threatened and assaulted by a heavily armed woman of some importance, he proceeds to tell her outrageous Blatant Lies and doesn't act at all ashamed when caught. He then proceeds to tell her (mostly) the truth, never once losing his cool.
    • Chronologically: He (non-fatally) pins a moving target to a wall with a precision shot from Bianca, and proceeds to lecture and snark at his victim. He then returns Hawke's stolen purse and suavely introduces himself, followed by a business proposition.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • During a conversation with Anders, this exchange;
      Varric: If you have something to say, just spit it out.
      Anders: Are you sure you want to encourage me? I might be about to confess my undying love.
      Varric: I get that a lot. So what's on your mind?
    • If male Hawke tells Merrill she's prettier than the Eluvian:
      Merrill: I'm sure you say that to Varric at least once a day.
      Varric: Twice, usually. But can you blame him? Nobody can resist this face!
  • The Exile/Going Native: Due to the entire Noble House of Tethras being exiled from Orzammar after his father was caught fixing Provings, Varric was born on the surface in Kirkwall. Having grown up in the surface world, Varric has genuinely no idea why the dwarves of Orzammar willingly choose to live in a dark, smelly hole, filled with darkspawn.
  • Expy:
    • Of Iolo FitzOwen from Ultima, the granddaddy of all Western RPGs: both men are professional storytellers (although Iolo is more musical, while Varric is more literary), both are the respective Featureless Protagonist's (the Avatar and Hawke) lifelong associates and confidantes, and both wield custom-built crossbows in combat.
    • Fans of this series and A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones have made comparisons between him and Tyrion Lannister. Each is The Unfavorite: a scarred, intelligent, snarky but easygoing Break Out Character, the younger son of a noble house. Each is also a dwarf (the fantasy race for Varric, a person with dwarfism for Tyrion), each befriends a displaced hero/heroine, and each was exiled at some point. They both even go through an Arranged Marriage and a broken heart because of class differences.
    • Of the garrulous crossbow-wielding gnome storyteller Jan Jansen from Bioware's own Baldur's Gate II. Jan tends to tell inane, annoying, blatantly untrue (but funny) stories while he plays up his Cloudcuckoolander tendencies, and he's at most a turnip merchant as opposed to the Tethras' mercantile empire, but unlike Varric he invented his own Automatic Crossbow and assorted other gadgets. It balances out.
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed, but Varric doesn't really understand or like the Qunari, particularly their extremism. He's the only one to disapprove of helping Ketojan, and is not even a little surprised when Arvaraad executes him. ("I knew it! Can't trust a zealot.") If Mark of the Assassin is done in Act 3, he also asks Tallis if she really thinks it was worth going to war over a book.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He's the progressive surfacer to Bartrand's traditionalist Dwarven ideals. Which one is really "foolish" and which is "responsible" is debatable.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Inverted. He and Bethany are the only two of Hawke's companions who are liked by all the others.
  • Friendly Sniper: Varric gets along with everybody, both inside the party and outside of it. His official bio from the Dragon Age tabletop RPG indicates that pretty much everyone is his friend unless they give him a reason to consider them otherwise.
  • Genre Savvy: He is a storyteller, after all:
    • "'I don't like this'? That's right up there with 'What Could Possibly Go Wrong?'!"
    • He kills Gascard DuPuis before he gets a chance to join Quentin.
    • There is one moment where Varric's Genre Savvy fails him. He completely misses that Anders's plan to start the Mage-Templar War was to pull a Batman Gambit on the entire Templar Order.
  • Glass Cannon: Bianca (especially a fully-upgraded Bianca) has one of the highest damage outputs of any weapon in the game; but Varric himself is a rogue, not a tank. He tends to get taken down a lot, absent some means of drawing aggro away from him.
  • Guile Hero: Varric doesn't mind violence, but prefers to settle things through trickery or bribery if possible. Deferring to Varric and letting him lie to your adversary, when the option exists, is a great way to earn friendship points. He's the only one who gives friendship points for bargaining with Castillon — Isabela blusters, but her opinion of Hawke doesn't actually change either way.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": During his companion quest, he briefly turns himself into a dwarven Tony Montana, rips through an army of mercenaries like it was nothing, and his brother spends the whole time talking about the awesomeness of Varric. Cassandra calls him out on this, and Varric tells the real story.
  • Hero of Another Story: Alongside Isabela and King Alistair in the The Silent Grove/Those Who Speak/Until We Sleep trilogy.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's the only party member besides Aveline and Hawke's sibling who cannot be romanced, though he remains incredibly close to Hawke throughout their relationship.
    • Word of God has said they seriously considered adding a post-credits scene to games in which Hawke didn't romance anyone, showing Varric and Hawke reuniting and the dwarf saying not to worry, he didn't tell the Seekers anything about them.
  • Hidden Depths: He may like to give the appearance of being a layabout storyteller who spends his time drinking and playing cards, but Varric is a lot smarter than that. He's very well-read; his rooms at the Hanged Man have a lot of books in them, and interacting with the bookcase in Hawke's mansion may prompt Hawke to remark that Varric has recommended the works of Genitivi, arguably the most famous historian in Thedas. Legacy shows that he also knows more about dwarven history than he likes to admit.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: It is indicated in cutscenes and his Party Banter that he does a lot of things in the background to help the other party members, like keeping thugs from causing trouble at Anders's clinic and making sure Merrill won't be have any trouble when she wanders into the wrong part of town (most nights). Apparently it costs him a fortune.
    • He gives Merrill a ball of twine when she first arrives in Kirkwall, to help her find her way back home again. When she offers to return it in Act 3, he tells her to keep it.
    • If she isn't romanced, it's revealed that during the years between Acts 2 and 3, Merrill stops leaving the house while obsessively working on the Eluvian. Varric apparently visits her every week to try to coax her out and out of his own pocket pays for food to be delivered to her door because she's forgetting to eat.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: His penchant for exaggerating parts of Hawke's tale eventually gets him dragged in front of the Seekers, who are essentially Thedas's equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, desperate for the truth about the Champion of Kirkwall. He's then brought to bear witness before the Divine, dragging him into the events of the third game...
  • I Call It "Vera": He has a crossbow named Bianca.
  • I Just Write the Thing: In Legacy, he admits to Aveline that he rarely writes with a concrete ending in mind, trusting his characters to drive the story rather than vice versa.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: In addition to his narration, this is a hobby of his. He frequently tells stories about Hawke and their adventures, though the stories are wildly exaggerated and very different from the truth.
  • It's All My Fault: Downplayed, and certainly not as prominent a part of his character as in the next game; but if Bethany or Carver dies in the Deep Roads, Varric never stops blaming himself for it. It's more apparent with Bethany, as he has party banter three years later in which he's still openly grieving.
  • Jaw Drop: He offers a verbal one when Aveline admits she wants a relationship with Guardsman Donnic.
    Varric: I think my jaw just landed in the Deep Roads somewhere.
  • Knowledge Broker: "It means coins flow when I talk and when I shut up."
  • Lady Drunk: His mother was an angry drunk with worse hangovers; try bringing him for "Repentance," if The Exiled Prince is installed, and listen to his commentary when the party encounters Flora.
  • The Lancer: Due to his role in the story, Varric is the only party member who cannot leave the party, and provides a counterpoint to both Diplomatic! and Aggressive!Hawke. With Silly!Hawke, it seems like the two of them are snarking best buds.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As justified as can be since he's telling the story. Lampshaded in some Legacy dialogue with Isabela, in which she asks him why he doesn't give himself a nickname. "Well, it's my story." She doesn't understand what he means, but the player does.
  • Manly Tears: He has a moment where he's on the verge of them in the Legacy DLC, if Hawke completes the optional side quest "The Paragon's Heir." Watching Hawke perform the traditional dwarven rite for the dead for one of Varric's distant relatives leaves the dwarf speaking in a husky voice and asking if the party could please "get out of here before you see me cry."
  • Memento MacGuffin: A minor example, but Hawke can buy back the signet ring of House Tethras from the trinkets merchant in Lowtown and return it to Varric. He's absolutely amazed to once again have possession of "my father's signet ring" and is very obviously grateful for the gesture.
    • According to Mary Kirby's Twitter, the necklace he wears is also this; when asked, she said that she presumed it to be something his father left to him.
  • Merchant Prince: Varric's specialization tree calls him one, though the truth is more complicated. He's very wealthy and well-connected, but isn't interested in politics and tends to skip Merchants' Guild meetings.
  • Mercy Kill: Hawke can convince him to do this to Bartrand. Varric tries to convince himself he'll enjoy it, but he describes it afterward as "the hardest thing I've ever done." He clearly regrets what happened to his brother, even bringing it up to Fenris when the elf is about to kill his sister.
  • Momma's Boy: Despite having to single-handedly care for his alcoholic mother from a young age, he doesn't seem to resent her for it.
    Varric: I swear, I will find that son of a bitch - sorry, Mother - and kill him!
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • Varric is a rare example of a surface dwarf who sincerely believes that the dwarves of Orzammar are morons for not realising just why living on the surface is actually completely fantastic.
    • Despite being from a house of exiled nobles, he has utter contempt for their entire caste system, seeing the elite as petty for looking down on others just because their ancestor "built a water clock or something". He dismisses Harrowmont for his isolationism and approves of Bhelen dissolving the Assembly (but "it's still Orzammar").
  • Nice Guy: Apart from Bethany (if she's alive) and possibly Hawke, he's the only person liked by pretty much everyone in the group.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Merrill is "Daisy," Bethany is "Sunshine," Anders is "Blondie," Carver is "Junior" and "little Hawke," Isabela is "Rivaini," Sebastian is "Choir Boy," and Fenris is "Elf." He doesn't have one for Aveline, which bothers her - he says it's because he can't think of anything better than "Red," which they agree is too common.
      Aveline: You don't call anyone by their real name, except me. Where's my nickname?
      Varric: That's not true, there's Hawke and Bianca.
      Aveline: Hawke is a family name. And Bianca is a crossbow.
    • In Mark of the Assassin, Hawke can also complain that Varric doesn't have a proper nickname for them, prompting Varric to bestow Hawke with a nickname that suits their personality - diplomatic!Hawke is Waffles, silly!Hawke is Chuckles, and aggressive!Hawke is Killer.
    • He also dubs Tallis "Shivs."
    • If he's brought along for the Act 1 quest "Magistrate's Orders," he may give one to the elf girl Lia when the party finds her. When she pleads for leniency for her kidnapper, if Hawke selects the snarky response, Varric will add a comment in which he gently addresses Lia as "princess."
  • Noodle Incident: He refuses to tell anyone how Bianca got her name, just that Mirabelle was taken. According to the descriptions of his personal abilities, he's written a song about it, but will only ever hum it quietly to help his concentration.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Bianca, the only working Automatic Crossbow in the setting, especially after its designer gets killed in Legacy... Then, during the course of Mark of the Assassin, this trope is averted, with Duke Prosper making use of a repeating crossbow pistol. Basically, this trope only appears because Varric is an Unreliable Narrator.
    • Of course, as Inquisition shows, the "designer" killed in Legacy was not really Bianca's creator at all. The World of Thedas, vol. 2 explains that Gerav did come up with the idea, but couldn't get it to work - but someone else could.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: During "Haunted" in Act 3, he becomes more and more agitated, finally yelling at Hawke and demanding to have the shard of the idol they found. It certainly freaks Anders out a bit, who tells Hawke that the idol is affecting Varric's mind. Varric apologizes afterwards, and he appears to have suffered no permanent ill effects by the time Cassandra finds him, even if Hawke allows him to have the shard. Granted, it did take several years for Bartrand to go completely Ax-Crazy...
  • Odd Friendship: With practically everybody in the party.
    • It's revealed he's taught the game of Diamondback to the Dog. And he's a better card player than Anders, although that's not hard.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: While he's not the only beardless dwarf in Thedas, he's one of the few who actually prefers the surface. One could attribute this to his being born on the surface after House Tethras was exiled; he has no memories of Orzammar because he was never in it, and if asked by Bethany will vehemently state that he has no desire to go there. He's not fond of caves or the Deep Roads, either, but this isn't due to claustrophobia. His brother Bartrand, on the other hand, shows many traits common among the Dwarven nobles of Orzammar, such as irritability, arrogance, intolerance of other cultures and an over-inflated sense of ego.
    • The stereotypical dwarf is a heavily armored, super-tough warrior wielding a giant battleaxe, an equally gigantic beard, and a surly attitude. Varric is a lightly armored, frail archer with a crossbow, has no beard, and is the friendliest, most universally liked party member in the franchise.
  • Pet the Dog: In-universe. He admits to Cassandra that he's making up Hawke's conversation with the deceased Leandra in Legacy, but still does so because he thinks that Hawke deserves to have something good happen in their life and get some closure.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Some of his storytelling and interaction with Cassandra could be seen as him doing this. Of particular note is when he mentions Flemeth helping the Hawke family escape the Blight; when she all but accuses him of making it up, he asks if she needs him to recite the tale of the Warden too. He doesn't have to take refuge in audacity; the truth is really that audacious.
  • The Resenter: The Pride Demon in "Night Terrors" implies part of him is very bitter about his role sitting just outside the spotlight, and mostly how it pertains to Bartrand.
    Varric: I did everything for the family. My whole life... and he's still the favorite son.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: He plays the part, particularly in Act 1, but in truth he's a Knowledge Broker/The Spymaster, and a very business-savvy one at that. He makes a point of missing Merchants' Guild meetings, never replies to his mail, and registers the family businesses to an imaginary cousin.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He indulges in a Cliché Storm of Pre Mortem One Liners while single-handedly raiding his brother's hideout. Except, no he doesn't.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Varric was born of the House Tethras, disgraced nobles exiled from Orzammar after his father was caught fixing Provings. Unlike Bartrand, Varric is more flexible and willing to compromise to achieve his ends, willing to get his hands dirty if needs be, and recognises Hawke as someone to be counted on get things done. He joins the Deep Roads Expedition to keep his brother from harm; he's willing to follow Hawke into dangerous territory to rescue Sandal; and, despite the implication that he's probably even wealthier than Hawke, he still chooses to live in the Hanged Man down in Lowtown.
  • Running Gag: The chest hair...
  • Sad Clown: He's already snarky on a good day, but his standard reaction to things getting tense or emotional (especially when it comes to his own issues) is deflection.
    Varric: Don't worry, Sunshine. The laughter just... hides the pain.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Always expect to hear at least one snarky comment from the dwarf when he's in Hawke's party.
    Varric: (if Anders falls) They got what's-his-name! The mage!
  • Secret Keeper: He's very good at this, being The Spymaster. It even forms part of his introductory dialogue with Hawke if Bethany is the surviving twin; when Hawke asks if Varric has heard of Bethany as well, she demurs, and he assures her that "Your secrets are safe with me." (In other words, he knows she's a mage but he's not going to out her to the Templars.)
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: "I love the sound of my own voice, and I'm a compulsive liar."
  • Ship Tease:
    • Some conversational options will allow him to flirt with a female Hawke, though it's treated like a running joke between them. (Unlike the actual potential love interests, there are never any "heart" dialogue options for Varric.)
    • He and Isabela flirt a lot in party banter. She seems interested in his chest hair.
    • He also has a subtler but more genuine tease with Bethany, to whom he is shown to be particularly attached; it's examined carefully on the Heartwarming page.
  • The Spymaster: He runs a spy network to help his friends and family.
  • The Storyteller: Of course he ends up the narrator.
    There's power in stories, though. That's all history is: the best tales. The ones that last. Might as well be mine.
  • Sweet Tooth: If Merrill is to be believed.
    Merrill: His mind draws [demons] the same way pastries draw Varric.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Bianca is an Automatic Crossbow, with a mounted grenade launcher that Varric uses when firing Miasmic Flask, and a hidden bayonet the size of an arming sword.
  • Tagalong Chronicler: Not only is he The Narrator, but even in-story, it is acknowledged that he will be the main influence on how history will remember Hawke.
  • Team Mom/The Team Benefactor: Like Aveline, party banter reveals things Varric is doing behind the scenes to try and keep members of the group out of trouble, such as bribing the Lowtown gangs to leave Merrill alone.
    • He's also the only one, besides Bethany and possibly Hawke, to really be on the good side of everyone in the party. And with a Dysfunction Junction this bad, that is an accomplishment.
  • Undying Loyalty: He's the only member of the party who will never leave Hawke, no matter what happens. (He's also, by far, the easiest party member to befriend. If the player brings him along on most quests, they will have to deliberately antagonize him to avoid getting 100% Friendship with him in Act 1, long before it becomes possible for any other party member besides Bethany.) He can, however, be tempted to betray Hawke in the Fade by a demon; he'll simply apologize later. At one point in Legacy, without any hesitation, he turns Bianca on a former friend of his who is preparing to attack Hawke.
    • His loyalty even extends beyond the physical. At the end of the Legacy DLC if done after the murder of Leandra, he recounts how Hawke had a conversation with their deceased mother. He quickly admits that this didn't actually happen. He only said it because he wished his friend had gotten that closure, despite knowing that they never did.
  • The Unfavorite: "Night Terrors" implies that he sees himself as such, compared to Bartrand.
  • Unreliable Narrator: For portions of the story, he'll exaggerate certain events just to make the story more interesting or if he's hiding something. Cassandra will ask questions occasionally to discern Varric's hyperbole from the truth.
    • Subverted because his exaggerations are actually the story of the Champion, as remembered in history. He's technically telling the truth, From a Certain Point of View. On the other hand, the better known exaggerations are also written by him...
    • Played for Laughs later, when the game suddenly switches to Varric killing a ridiculously implausible number of enemies by himself and making a crossbow shot with Improbable Aiming Skills. Cut back to an extremely skeptical Cassandra, and then gameplay returns to normal.
    • He also freely admits as much when, in Legacy, he invents a conversation between Hawke and Leandra's ghost. As noted above, he concedes that it never happened; he just wanted to give his dear friend some closure regarding their mother's murder.
    • The in-story explanation for Legacy and Mark of the Assassin within the Framing Device is that Varric left them out at first, "assuming" Cassandra wouldn't be interested. Also, that she wouldn't believe either story - heck, even he has difficulty believing what happened during Legacy, and he was there!
    • In his prelude recounting of an overpowered rogue or warrior Hawke's battle against the Blight alongside their sister, Bethany is depicted with a substantially bigger bosom than normal. (Female Hawke's bosom, interestingly, does not appear to change at all.)
    • As revealed in Inquisition, he knew where Hawke was all along and could get in contact with them anytime he needed, but he lied about this in order to protect his friend.
    • A number of the game's odder elements, like enemies who jump in from nowhere in waves, are called out by other characters in the next game. Apparently it's common to all his writing.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Some of his party banter with Carver suggests that this is their relationship.
    • With Sebastian as well, especially if they're the companions for Mark of the Assassin.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the very first cut scenes, Varric has a noticeably deeper lilt to his voice than in later scenes, sounding very different from the more lighthearted and easygoing dwarf the player becomes familiar with from his introduction to Hawke and onward. By the end of the game, it's clear just why this is the case.
  • Wardrobe Wound: He occasionally complains about the gang's activities getting blood on his coat or ruining his boots.
  • Warrior Poet: He actually writes poetry in his spare time. According to his specialization tree, he's even written a song about Bianca, although he'll only hum it under his breath to improve his concentration.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He stays on mostly good terms with Anders right up to the Chantry attack. After that, he says he's sick of mages and Templars and seems bitter about having introduced him to Hawke in the first place. In Inquisition, when speaking of the mage rebellion, he notes that "the guy who started it used to be a friend of mine." If Anders survived DAII, Varric bluntly states in the next game that he doesn't know or care about his current whereabouts.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Aveline tries to work this out in party banter. He just confuses her. The reality is that he's a Knowledge Broker and The Spymaster, but he prefers to let people think he's a Rich Idiot with No Day Job.
  • Write Who You Know: Invoked during Party Banter in Act 2 with Aveline, which reveals he's writing a series of novels starring a rogue guardsman called Donnen Brennokovic. Apparently, there have been fistfights in the barracks over which guard Varric based him on. It might be simple coincidence, but Donnic and Brennan, two actual guardsmen Hawke meets during Act 1, seem the most likely candidates at least for the name. Extracts from the book itself have the guard captain as a no-nonsense female redhead beset by paperwork (Aveline); other characters include a surly white-haired bartender called Ferris (Fenris), a sexy and reckless lady pirate named Captain Belladonna (Isabela), and a cute scatterbrained elf historian named Maisy (Merrill). There's also Lady Marielle, a significant character whose description and personality seem to be a mash-up of female Hawke and Bethany. The entire story can be read in a series of codex entries on the official wiki, and in late 2017, Bioware announced that actual printed, illustrated copies would be produced; it's now available.

    Tropes In Dragon Age: Inquisition
"If this is all just the Maker winding us up, I hope there's a damn good punch line coming."

Varric joins the Inquisitor's party, along with Cassandra, during the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: After the completion of "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts," Varric has a lengthy bit of party banter with Dorian, in which Dorian says that Empress Celene's trio of identically-dressed handmaidens were asking him questions about Varric's romantic availability and chest hair. Varric's tone as he replies sounds quite disgruntled.
    Varric: Huh. Creepy.
  • Actor Allusion: An extremely subtle and humorous one on the war table. If the chain of operations is completed for Varric's plagiarism issues, one of them has him contact Jerrik Dace and call in a debt regarding 'the Amgarrak expedition,' referencing the Origins DLC Golems of Amgarrak. It's funny for two reasons. One, it means that House Tethras funded the expedition, and financing a DLC campaign is a very Varric thing to do; two, this trope. Brian Bloom is the voice of Jerrik Dace as well as Varric, so the letters they send to each other in the operation are a sort of literary version of Talking to Himself.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Solas refers to him with a solemn "child of the Stone," which is especially notable since Varric is a surface dwarf without a lick of stone-sense. Solas seems to mean it genuinely, though.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: When Solas keeps badgering him about his willingness to abandon the old dwarf empire and be happy with his kind living on the surface, equating it to giving up, Varric handily shuts him down by arguing that accepting the impossibility of defeating entropy and living a good life anyway is the only real way to beat it.
    Solas: You truly are content to sit in the sun, never wondering what you could've been, never fighting back?
    Varric: Ha, you've got it all wrong, Chuckles. This is fighting back.
    Solas: How does passively accepting your fate constitute a fight?
    Varric: In that story of yours — the fisherman watching the stars, dying alone — you thought he gave up right? [...] But he went on living. He lost everyone, but he still got up every morning. He made a life, even if it was alone. That's the world. Everything you build, it tears down. Everything you've got, it takes — and it's gone forever. The only choices you get are to lie down and die or keep going. He kept going. That's as close to beating the world as anyone gets.
    Solas: Well said. Perhaps I was mistaken.
  • Badass Bookworm: Varric's career as an author receives more attention in Inquisition. Apparently, he's quite the bestseller, so he's basically a demon-slaying Stephen King with a crossbow - except in Orlais, where his books don't sell. (But that turns out to be Varric's publisher screwing him out of money, and he's absolutely bewildered to be mobbed by readers at the Winter Palace.)
  • Badass Longcoat: Now available in a variety of colors, depending on what material the player uses.
  • Bag of Spilling: When the Inquisitor meet him at the beginning of the game, he's back to first level and without all those trick bolts, just like the rest of the party.
  • Bearer of Bad News: If Hawke is left in the Fade, Varric has to do this for the rest of the old gang from Kirkwall, sending letters to inform them of the situation. Cassandra will ask him about it in party banter.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • People accuse him and Cassandra of having this. Neither of them are amused by the suggestion. When Discussed by the party, they conclude that the reason people accuse him and Cassandra of this is because it's a common trope in his own books... or rather, in the Shoddy Knock Off sequels written by someone else.
    • He and Bianca actually do have this going on. They insult each other as often as they make small talk. Most telling is that if the Inquisitor defends her from his own rants, Varric actually approves both times. The Inquisitor can even tell them to Get a Room!.
      The Inquisitor: After all this, do you think you'll see Bianca again?
      Varric: I always do.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • He takes Cole under his wing and does his best to foster the growth of his human side. Blackwall even lampshades it, saying that Varric seems to have adopted him.
    • Also has a bit of this toward the newly-minted Herald of Andraste, periodically inquiring as to whether events are taking a toll on them. The most notable example comes after the events of the prologue, when the player character is walking around Haven and interacting with everyone; Varric is the only person to ask them if they're okay.
      "So, now that Cassandra is out of earshot, are you holding up all right?"
    • Still exhibits this towards Hawke.
      Cassandra: Hawke would have been at the temple! If anyone could have saved Most Holy-!
      Varric: You know what I think? If Hawke had been at the temple, he/she would be dead too. You people have done enough to him/her.
    • He also still has a little of this, still overlapping with Ship Tease, for Circle!Bethany. When the Herald inquires about the whereabouts of his friends, he fondly notes that "Hawke's little sister" is helping mage refugees in the Free Marches. After Adamant, if Hawke survived, Cassandra brings her up and asks if she's still alive, which gets an immediate and slightly hostile response of "Better be!" More calmly, Varric then adds that "Sunshine will go" to join her elder sibling as soon as Varric informs her of their whereabouts. As noted below, she seems to be the one companion with whom he remains in regular contact.
  • Blatant Lies: He's still prone to extravagant lies, although now he freely admits it. His recounting of the events of Inquisition in his book All This Shit Is Weird includes Cassandra weeping at his feet begging for forgiveness, which - needless to say - did not happen. (The real Cassandra, however, is actually delighted by the fabrication.)
  • Carpet of Virility:
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In the Inquisition trailer, in between shooting several demons with Bianca.
    Varric: You might want to watch yourself, it's raining demons out here.
  • City Mouse: Some of his banter and random comments include complaints about foul weather, uneven terrain, and how much he'd really like to be indoors right about now. The Descent DLC even adds a string of party banter in which the other companions mock his many complaints, the majority of which are related to the outdoors. As he points out, he was raised in the city; that's where he's comfortable.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Cole on physical and tangible objects like clothes, as he hasn't got much experience with them.
  • Content Warnings: Hilariously, the World of Thedas books contain a segment in which it's shown that the Chantry (or at least "Sister Lilian Hatch," the author of the segment) frowns upon Varric's popular novels. This is partly due to his previous association with Anders, but it's also because they think he's a terrible writer. The faithful are warned that "...his body of work remains, by and large, little more than smut, pulp, or, at times, smutty pulp." This warning is then followed by an excerpt from Hard in Hightown.
  • Cooldown Manipulation: Varric's Artificer specialization focuses on improving critical hit chances for himself and the party, and using critical hits to reduce the cooldowns on all his talents so he can use them faster.
  • Cosmic Plaything: As he says, he's been in his own stories enough times to know a tragedy starting when he sees one.
    Varric: Most of my stories end in tragedy. Probably that says something unfortunate about me personally.
  • Dirty Coward: He seems to think this of himself. In one conversation, he mentions that it took him three years just to work up the nerve to confront Bartrand for trying to murder him, and even then he needed someone else to convince him to do it. He then wonders if he'd be running from the current crisis if Cassandra hadn't literally dragged him into it in the first place. The Inquisitor can point out that nothing is actually stopping him.
  • Dual Wielding: Unlike the previous game, it is possible for Varric to dual-wield daggers (his new specialisation works pretty well regardless). However, the only ranged weapon he will use is still invokedBianca, who gets a whole range of exclusive upgrades to keep her in the running throughout the game. The descriptions for the regular bows seem to lampshade this; "Not Varric" is listed as a secondary class restriction alongside Rogue. It should also be noted that dual wielding will prevent Varric from using his Focus Ability, which requires Bianca.
  • Fan of Underdog: While he and Blackwall have their favourite jousters in the Grand Tourney, he admits that Blackwall's pick is the most skilled, but stands by his own choice. It's not hard to imagine who else he's thinking about.
    Varric: Scrappy is better than flawless. I like heroes who try their damnedest, even if they fail a lot. It's easy to be valiant when you always win and everything goes your way. There's nothing great in that.
  • Fantastic Racism: He's somewhat suspicious of the Qunari after the events of DAII, though he still gets along pretty well with the Iron Bull all things considered. If Bull becomes Tal-Vashoth, he happily tells him it was the right choice. If the player picks the alliance with the Qunari, Varric is skeptical... which arguably doubles as foreshadowing for Trespasser.
  • Friendly Sniper: Wields an Automatic Crossbow with deadly precision in combat, and is still one of the nicest guys in the series.
  • Genre Savvy: We can see now that it wasn't just him spicing up the story to make himself seem like this in Dragon Age II. Varric really gets how stories work and displays this in multiple dialogues throughout the game.
    • If Hawke allowed him to keep the idol shard, he's taking zero chances with it — it's in a custom-made safe back in Kirkwall, and alchemists are studying it in hour-long shifts with weekly intervals. Unfortunately, they still don't know how to stop it from "singing".
    • His party banter indicates that he figures out very early in their acquaintance that Blackwall has some kind of Dark and Troubled Past, although his exact guesses are completely off the mark. Notably, if he's in the party when the Inquisitor goes to Val Royeaux as part of that character's personal quest, Varric realizes what's happening faster than anyone else.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Picked up what would qualify on anyone else as a nasty Evil Scar (under his left eye, diagonally across the nose almost to his right side jaw) sometime between the games.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He's always shown signs of this, but he especially does if Hawke dies.
  • Hero of Another Story: Again. He's central to the plot of Knight Errant, which takes place after the Trespasser DLC and has him working with a sticky-fingered squire to help the Inquisition back in his native Kirkwall.
  • Hero-Worshipper: A relatively mild example, but Varric firmly believes that the player character is Andraste's chosen champion, and tells them that he's not sure how to be a disciple; if told that the Inquisitor needs a friend, not a disciple, he laughs and says they don't understand what they are to people. After the group game of Wicked Grace, he tells the Inquisitor that he sees them as being "like one of those statues of Andraste holding bowls of fire." He also, in party banter with Dorian, refers to them as "our beloved Inquisitor." It's a different kind of reverence than the sort he has for Hawke, but still there.
  • Heroic BSoD/Stunned Silence: If Hawke dies, he's completely at a loss for what to say, trying to say something before completely giving up and just silently walking away.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life-Partners: Once again, Varric cannot be romanced by the player character. In this game, however, it's heavily implied that this is at least partly because of his past relationship with another dwarf named Bianca. He still remains this to Hawke as well, being the only person with whom they were in constant contact while they were on the run.
  • Hidden Depths: As mentioned by Cassandra and later confirmed by Varric himself, he's Andrastian (rather than a Stone-worshiper); furthermore, he fully believes that the Inquisitor is the Herald of Andraste, pointing to the extraordinary events surrounding the Inquisitor since literally stepping out of the Fade as proof.
    • Bringing him along for the "Tomb of Fairel" quest in the Hissing Wastes once again shows that Varric understands dwarven history much more than he likes to admit, especially when looting the treasure of the final tomb. The Inquisitor will playfully call him out on it, to which he replies, "If you want an encyclopedia entry, it might as well be from someone charming."
    • Having him along for Jaws of Hakkon helps to illustrate how good Varric is at recognizing the need for diplomacy and kindness. He approves of letting the Inquisitor's name be included in an Avvar prayer (at the conclusion of "Up and Away") because he says it's smart to show respect for local traditions, and urges the Inquisitor to let Finn take the credit for hunting the fade-touched beasts (at the end of "A Father's Name") because the young man has already lost his father, and shouldn't have to lose his name too. He also makes a number of wise comments regarding the history uncovered in the quest, and expresses particular admiration for Ameridan's dwarven companion Orinna.
  • Home Sweet Home: He tries to downplay it, but Varric is desperately homesick during the events of Inquisition. Sera actually complains about it in party banter, saying that she's tired of him talking about his "better" friends back in Kirkwall.
    • After the events at the ritual tower in the Western Approach, the Inquisitor can find him in the hallway by the war room with Hawke, talking about the situation, and his old friend comments that "I know how much you hated leaving Kirkwall." He expresses distaste for being where he is ("Did you know they eat snails here?") but adds that he has to see it through to the end.
    • Taking him to the Storm Coast can net this bit of wistful dialogue:
      Varric: The Waking Sea... somewhere across all that water is Kirkwall.
  • Humble Hero: He has shades of this in party banter with Blackwall, who compliments him on his prowess with the crossbow. Varric demurs, saying that Bianca does most of the work.
  • I Call It "Vera": Bianca's back! And she fits in quite well with the weapon/armor component upgrade system in Inquisition, having the most upgrade slots of any item, and most of them unique to her: a tension limb slot, a foregrip slot, a stock/sighting slot, and a more standard rune slot as well for good measure.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: His dialogue is peppered with this throughout the game. The events of II and now Inquisition have definitely taken a toll on Varric, and all he really wants to do is go home - but he feels so responsible for things that he just can't go until he's set things right. Take him to the Storm Coast and listen to his lament about Kirkwall being "somewhere across all that water". Post-game, he reveals that he simply wants to settle back down in Kirkwall. The Trespasser DLC shows him doing exactly that... except now he's the Viscount, so 'settling down' isn't what it used to be.
  • It Will Never Catch On: He claims he won't write a book about the Inquisition because they aren't that interesting. He reconsiders it later on, although he's not sure anyone will believe it. At the very end of the Trespasser DLC, he presents Cassandra with a copy of the book he did end up writing. It's called All This Shit Is Weird, and players are treated to her reading excerpts aloud over the closing credits. It's hilarious.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Varric co-led the expedition that unearthed the first red lyrium seen in the modern Age, and isn't happy now that it's popping up everywhere. When Corypheus reappears, he starts kicking himself for leading Hawke to the Warden prison. If Hawke sacrifices themselves to save the Inquisitor and the Grey Warden ally, this attitude becomes even more apparent. It's even worse in his personal quest, when he finds out that Corypheus is getting most of his red lyrium from the very same Primeval Thaig that Varric and Hawke discovered.
    • The Nightmare demon specifically gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech over his guilt of constantly getting Hawke into life-threatening situations.
    • He's still blaming himself if Hawke's sibling contracted the taint in the previous game. Bring him to the Storm Coast to fight the darkspawn on the surface and listen to him talk about it. It's more pronounced if Bethany died as a result; he's very obviously still grieving the loss, and he even says the same phrase he uttered when they realized what was happening: "Oh, Sunshine."
  • Knight Errant: He gets a bit of this in his character trailer, which features him defending Haven's barmaid from the unwanted advances of a ruffian - by using Bianca to pin the man to the wall. (Doubles as something of a Call-Back to Dragon Age II, where he did the exact same thing to a pickpocket the first time he met Hawke.)
    Varric: She's not interested. But Bianca here is a sucker for drunk, dumb, and ugly. Take a hint, human.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: He's considerably more bitter and confrontational by the time he joins the Inquisition. Most tellingly, it takes him the better part of the game to move into a pleasant relationship with Cassandra, especially after Hawke comes to Skyhold. They just can't seem to let go of their animosity for a long time, which is a dramatic shift from the easygoing storyteller Varric was in the previous game.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: When the Inquisitor asks how Varric got Bianca, the dwarf may tell a story of how he found her in a barrel in the Black Emporium for a few coins. The codex adds a few more possible origin stories for Bianca as well, and playing multiple playthroughs reveals that with each of them, Varric's story of finding Bianca randomly changes.
    • One variant even has him claiming that he won Bianca from Paragon Branka in a game of Wicked Grace. (However, considering he says she got upset and ran into the Deep Roads afterward while he admits to never having actually been to Orzammar, it's pretty obvious that he made that one up.)
    • From his sidequest, it's heavily implied that the origin of the crossbow Bianca is somehow related to a girl named Bianca, with whom Varric obviously has history. If the Inquisitor asks him if it originates with her, he doesn't directly deny it, but does say that saying anything about it might endanger her life. This forms something of a Call-Back to Dragon Age II, when he told Merrill that "There was a girl, and I made a promise. It's the one story I can never tell." It also corroborates her appearance in the Fade during the comic Until We Sleep.
      • The World of Thedas, vol. 2 finally clears up the matter. Gerav, the tinkerer whom Hawke and Varric encountered in the Legacy DLC, was Bianca's original creator, but he couldn't get the thing to work. He sold it to Varric, who took it to the dwarf Bianca; she turned the crossbow into the deadly work of art he loves so much, prompting him to name it after her. By Varric's own accounting, this was a good fifteen years before Inquisition.
  • Nice Guy: As in the previous game, Varric can make friends with just about anyone, and seems to be on friendly or at least amiable terms with just about every other character in the party. He makes an analogy of people with cats: they either arch their back up to seem threatening, or hide to avoid detection.
    Varric: Show that you're not a victim or a threat, and they're in your lap and purring before you know it.
    • He is one of the only party members, almost as much as Cole, to consistently give approval for dialogue and action choices which indicate a selfless nature. For example, he's the only one who "greatly approves" if the Herald manages to save all of the endangered villagers when Haven is attacked, and the only one who "approves" if they make an effort and save at least one.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Varric gets accused of this by Cassandra after she finds out he lied about Hawke's whereabouts. Cassandra sought him out because she wanted Hawke to become the leader of the Inquisition and feels that Hawke's presence may have prevented the destruction at the Conclave. Varric points out that if Hawke had been at the Conclave, they would almost certainly have died, and "You people have done enough to him/her."
  • The Nicknamer: Varric still gives nicknames to his companions. He addresses Cassandra as "Seeker"; Josephine is "Ruffles"; Leliana is "Nightingale"; and Cullen is "Curly." The ever-serious Solas is "Chuckles", Iron Bull is "Tiny", Dorian is "Sparkler", Cole is "Kid", Blackwall is "Warden" or "Hero", and Sera is "Buttercup." Vivienne comes pre-nicknamed as "Iron Lady". And, like Hawke before them, the Inquisitor doesn't have a nickname beyond simply "Inquisitor," although he may sometimes play with it by calling them "Your Inquisitorialness." He also has a nickname for Bianca's husband: "What's-his-name."
    • In the Descent DLC, he nicknames Lieutenant Renn "Grisly" for his graphic tales of darkspawn-slaying, and Shaper Valta "Scribbles" because she's a scholar.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Dwarven Friendly Sniper author merchant.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, once he becomes Viscount, he regularly bets public buildings during card games including Wicked Grace.
    • His "promotion" to Viscount is also sort of one as well. Apparently Kirkwall's not having an official viscount got in the way of one of his schemes, and he lodged a complaint with the nobility. Whatever he said, they apparently combined it with the amount of money he had contributed to the restoration of the city, and interpreted it as him volunteering for the position.
  • Odd Friendship: Once again, Varric gets along with just about everyone, including many the player might not expect. Even those that start off tense at first, such as Cassandra, become significantly warmer over the course of the game.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realizes that Bianca met the Grey Warden Corypheus was possessing at the end of Legacy and that's how Corypheus discovered Red Lyrium.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Almost his exact words at the conclusion of his character trailer, which shows him in the tavern in Haven at the time of the Conclave explosion. He gets to the door, stares up at the Breach, and groans, clearly comparing this new crisis to that in the final act of the previous game. He makes the disgruntled comment, then advances the magazine on Bianca, indicating that he's prepared to do his part to fight the new menace.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe, he considers his Swords and Shields romance series the worst thing he's ever written. However, it turns out that Cassandra is a fan of the series and the Inquisitor can convince him to write another book for it on her behalf.
  • Precision F-Strike: He may make one if his opinion of the Inquisitor drops low enough that he delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, depending on the player's choices in the conversation.
    Varric: This 'all that matters is the goal, and fuck the consequences' thing of yours? I've seen where that road leads. Anders was the last guy I knew who thought like that, and he was an abomination. What's your excuse?
  • Rain of Arrows: Varric's Focus Ability is Hail of Arrows, which allows him to use any archery ability twice simultaneously while it is active. It lives up to its name when combined with Leaping Shot.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Handled a bit differently than in the previous game. Because his brother (for one reason or another) is no longer capable of holding the position, Varric is now the head of House Tethras, and thus the one stuck dealing with the Merchants' Guild and other day-to-day things. The Inquisitor can provide a welcome interruption while he's paying bills, and ambient dialogue datamined from the game has him coming up with assorted creative uses for the letters he gets from the Guild. The Inquisitor can ask him what it is he does, to which he explains that he's basically in the business of buying and selling property. Even he doesn't seem to know the extent of his own holdings; if the Herald asks him about his family business, he remarks that "I think we own half a beet plantation in Rivain."
  • Right To Bare Arms: Some of the armor sets are sleeveless on him, revealing a pair of extremely muscular arms.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just like before. He's one of the wealthiest people in the inner circle, possibly even the wealthiest, yet he's down in the muck with everyone else. As of Trespasser, Varric is the new Viscount of Kirkwall, meaning that he's now fully-fledged royalty - but still very hands-on.
  • Runaway Bride: Implied to have happened to him. Let's just say we finally find out some of the story behind Bianca.
    Varric: I heard the wedding was lovely. The one she actually showed up for, anyway.
    • Her first appearance, in the comic Until We Sleep, also corroborates this.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: One of his outfits features a red one, not unlike Bethany's or Warrior Hawke's.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In Trespasser, he's not above using his new position as Viscount of Kirkwall to give the Inquisitor a new title and the key to the chains of the city. He thought it was just ornamental, but when Bran explains the real significance, he finds the idea hilarious.
    "What kind of viscount would I be if I didn't abuse my position to give shit to my friends? I've got traditions to uphold!"
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: He's still this, and quite up front about it if the Inquisitor wants to ask him something personal. "You want to talk about me? I'm flattered. Also inclined toward extravagant lies." Somewhat subverted, since he doesn't really tell any lies this time (at least, not to you); and if he's brought along for The Descent, the one thing he says that sounds like Blatant Lies - telling you about the existence of the Nug King - turns out to be the absolute truth.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: His (honest) reaction to Dorian asking if there's something between him and Cassandra.
    Varric: Just because two people dislike each other doesn't mean they're about to kiss, Sparkler.
    • However, he makes no such denial concerning Bianca, no matter how much the rest of the party pesters him about it. Iron Bull even outright calls her that, and he goes with it.
  • Sherlock Scan: He gives an impressive one to the player character shortly after they meet. No matter what race (except for elves, who get to talk with Solas instead), gender, or class the Herald is, he always accurately guesses their origins and reason for being at the Conclave.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked if the Inquisitor asks him to complete his Swords and Shields series as a gift for Cassandra.
    "You know, the fact that it's so terrible makes it worthwhile."
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Bianca, as it turns out, is a surface dwarf whose parents arranged for her to marry a smith. She and Varric obviously have a history, and some lingering feelings, but are not allowed to meet.
    Varric: If I came over, your parents would kill me.
    Bianca: Oh, you're just overreacting.
    Varric: You always say that, but they always send assassins.
  • Survivor Guilt: As noted above, he still blames himself if the Deep Roads killed Hawke's sibling.
  • Take Care of the Kids: He's on the receiving end of an unusual variant. If Hawke survives the Fade in "Here Lies the Abyss," s/he volunteers to make the trek to Weisshaupt to inform the First Warden of what's been happening. Their parting words to the Inquisitor include a somewhat emotional request: "Take care of Varric for me."
  • Team Mom: Most obvious during the Wicked Grace game and in some of Cole's sidequests - just like last time, he's determined to take care of everyone, even if that just means making sure they're taking the time to relax. He'll even talk about it, saying he's not a great spymaster despite his numerous contacts because he winds up getting too involved and "worrying about their families."
  • To Absent Friends: He and the Inquisitor mourn the one who died in the Fade. If the Grey Warden died, Varric says that even though he didn't know him well, he is saddened by his death and notes that these times are not kind to heroes. But if Hawke died, he is devastated. He tries to tell an amusing story about his best friend, a farewell of sorts, but almost breaks down in tears in the middle of it. The Inquisitor can hug him.
  • Trap Master: Varric's specialization in this game is called Artificer, and it involves using traps, grenades, and other trickery.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • It's revealed that he's known where Hawke has been all along, but did everything he could to hide this in order to protect his closest friend, as he was not sure of what the Inquisition wanted from them, and was just plain trying to keep them as far away from any more danger as possible.
    • He also demonstrates this towards the Inquisitor, as he will never leave the party, exactly like in Dragon Age II.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Varric is indirectly responsible for majority of the major events that transpired over the course of II and Inquisition. Hawke's sibling getting the taint (if they did), Corypheus being released, Anders getting pushed over the edge and kickstarting the Mage Rebellion, the red lyrium spreading, the Inquisitor getting the rift mark? The origin for all these started with Varric spearheading his Expedition to the Deep Roads, and he feels terrible about it. This is especially true if Hawke is killed as a result of it all.
    • On the bright side, he is also the reason Cassandra and Leliana did not die at the Conclave, since they were delayed interrogating him; and, since World of Thedas reveals that Cullen traveled with them on the same ship, the delay may have saved his life as well.
    • Also on the plus side, Trespasser reveals that, by releasing Corypheus, Varric turns out to be an Unwitting Instigator of World-Saving, since Corypheus ended up inadvertently thwarting Solas's plan to bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • War Is Hell: The teaser trailer shows a shell-shocked Varric standing over a battleground, filled with bodies.
  • Wardrobe Wound: Just like in the last game, depending on the location, Varric may register a complaint about what's happening to his outfit.
  • Warrior Poet: In his spare time, Varric is an accomplished poet and author, having reached renown enough for his works to be en vogue in Empress Celene's court. His novel Hard in Hightown is apparently popular enough that it has even generated a pair of Shoddy Knock Off sequels, much to Varric's chagrin. The first is subtitled Siege Harder, which could be seen on Hawke's bookshelf in II, and the second is The Re-Punchening. ("I'll give you a moment to contemplate the horror that is that title.") He wants them destroyed if for no other reason than their horrible titles.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: The answer manages to be both more and less clear this time. He's the head of his family now, and thus the deshyr of Kirkwall in the Dwarven Merchants' Guild; he's also an accomplished author, and he's still a Knowledge Broker and The Spymaster (although he notes that Leliana is much better at being a spymaster for the Inquisition than he would be, since he worries too much about his informants and their families). His actual purpose within the Inquisition itself, however, is pretty much a mystery to anyone who doesn't know him well. Vivienne even lampshades it, if the Inquisitor asks for her opinion of Varric - she wants to know what role he holds in the organization apart from "irritating Cassandra."
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In the trailer, he's not happy if the Inquisitor leaves Crestwood defenseless against the Red Templars.note 
    • In the game proper, he will eventually call the Inquisitor out if his approval drops too far. He's one of the few companions who will never leave, though.
    • He also calls Cassandra out on her anger at him for keeping Hawke's location a secret, pointing out that if she'd gotten her way and Hawke had been at the Conclave, all it would have accomplished would have been to get them killed too.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: An early conversation with the Herald can have him providing this for the cast of the previous game, if he's asked where everybody is. He has at least an approximate idea of where they can be found, if they're alive, but they're all quite scattered. The only one with whom he seems to be in regular contact is, in a world state where she survived, Bethany; some of his dialogue suggests that he writes to her. note 
  • Write Who You Know: Varric continues to use this In-Universe, and starts writing a political thriller series that features an evil duchess based on Vivienne as the overarching villain. Notably, Varric does ask Vivienne for permission to base a character on her (if only because he's so scared of her), and Vivienne loves the idea from the get-go and even starts bombarding him with demands for more details in the Party Banter.
    Vivienne: You're not going to describe me in anything less than the latest fashions, are you?
    Varric: I'm... going to spend the next few weeks researching Orlesian gowns, aren't I?
    Vivienne: Yes, my dear. And my mask should be inlaid with opals.
  • You Are in Command Now: With his connections, accolades, and accomplishments, Varric is made Viscount of Kirkwall by the nobility in Trespasser.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: He says exactly this in Jaws of Hakkon, when Trader Helsdim recognizes him (from his picture on book covers) and reveals himself to be a major fan.

Cassandra Pentaghast

First Appearance: Dragon Age II
Voiced by: Miranda Raison (Games), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Anime)

    Tropes In Dragon Age II and Dawn Of The Seeker
"I'm not interested in stories. I came to hear the truth."

A member of the the Seekers of the Chantry who interrogates Varric in order to understand the true nature of the Champion's story. Though she starts off suspicious of the Champion's actions, she eventually grows more amiable as she listens to what really happened.

  • Big Brother Worship: When recalling her deceased brother Anthony, Cass remarks that he was "everything kind and good," and she loved him very much.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Given that she's ostensibly a soldier, she presumably finds long hair to be somewhat impractical. She cuts it very short somewhere between Dawn of the Seeker and Dragon Age II.
  • Character Development: Despite only being a part of the framing device, Cassandra seems to mellow out as Varric tells the story. In the beginning, she's rude and nasty, even threatening Varric with a near-Groin Attack by plunging a knife through a book on his lap. By the end, she's quite willing to hear out Varric's story, and even lets him go without incident.
    • Initially, she assumes that Hawke was the Big Bad and responsible for instigating the Mage-Templar War, but because of Varric's tale, she comes to understand that instead they were a heroic figure who simply tried to do the best they could with an already bad situation. By the end, she realises that Kirkwall was a ticking time bomb and there was little anyone could have done.
    • In Dawn of the Seeker, she initially hates mages because of her Dark and Troubled Past, but slowly learns to grow out of it and realises they are people, too. That said, her prejudice isn't completely gone by II, since her initial assumption was that Mage Hawke was an apostate dissident who intentionally sowed discontent to bring down the Chantry.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Maybe not so much as the Chantry in general, but some of the ideas the Seekers have about the events of the game are a bit... out there.
  • Contralto of Danger: Cassandra has a sharp low-tone voice with a heavy Prussian (or, in-universe, Nevarran) accent.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: She's basically part of the Thedas equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, wears all black, and is extremely grouchy... and she's also trying to stop a major war from breaking out for entirely selfless reasons.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Cassandra can be arguably considered the protagonist of the Framing Device set in the present, attempting to learn the truth of Hawke's tale as told via Varric's recollections.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Over the course of the Varric's tale, she becomes less irritable, softer-spoken and in the end, even decides to let Varric go.
  • Dual Wielding: Favours this style of combat in Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Foe Yay: Invoked. Varric insinuates she develops a crush on a male Hawke after a point in his story. She denies it.
    • Particularly if male Hawke is a mage, since Cassandra is technically on the other side of the Mage-Templar conflict.
  • Freudian Excuse: As Dawn of the Seeker shows, she hates mages (and blood mages in particular) because maleficars killed her beloved brother... right in front of her, when she was twelve years old. They wanted him to get them dragon's blood for a ritual and he refused.
  • General Ripper: She initially assumes that Hawke is the mastermind of the war that's about to tear the world apart and that everything that has led up to this point was all part of their Evil Plan. However...
  • Good Is Not Nice: While she's initially portrayed as antagonistic to Varric and is implied to want to bring Hawke to justice, she's revealed to actually be trying to prevent the Mage-Templar war and wants to recruit Hawke to help stop the fighting.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The Seeker record which she carries around. It apparently contains character portraits of Hawke's companions, (presumably) Varric's exaggerated version of Hawke's tale, as well as images of Flemeth, Morrigan, and for some reason, Shale chasing pigeons...
    • However, Inquisition party banter indicates that the book she stabs in Varric's lap isn't a Seeker record at all - it's Cassandra's copy of Varric's book The Tale of the Champion, which accounts for a lot of what's in it. (Shale's appearance remains unexplained, though.)
  • Groin Attack: Comes close to doing this to Varric Tethras during the introduction when she shoves a dagger through a book to get him to start talking about the Champion of Kirkwall.
  • Hero of Another Story: She is the main character of Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Varric implies that Cassandra is being swept up in Hawke's legend. She'll deny it (and Varric's belief she's developing a crush) if it's male Hawke, but with female Hawke she has no problem admitting that she has respect for a woman who built herself up from nothing.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though she's kind of a bitch to Varric in the beginning, it turns out that she's trying to prevent the Mage-Templar war.
  • Hot-Blooded: Her initial reaction to Varric throwing Blatant Lies at her is to pull a knife on him and threaten him with a Groin Attack.
  • Internal Affairs: The job of a Seeker is essentially to keep an eye on the Templars and ensure they do not abuse their powers and/or stray from the will of the Chantry. The events of the game serve to indicate how bad things can get when the Seekers drop the ball.
  • Magic Skirt: Wears this in Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Urgh.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite being essentially part of the Chantry's Inquisition, she does seem quite willing to hear Varric out, even if what he has to say doesn't put some parts of the Chantry in a very good light.
  • The Reveal: Finding out that she's working with Leliana in the last scene of the game.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is both a member of the Nevarran royal family and a Templar Seeker.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Does this to Varric to get him to start talking.
  • Tsundere: Especially if Hawke is male, as Varric will imply that she has a crush on him, which she promptly denies. She also has this relationship with Galyan in Dawn of the Seeker.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Varric's opening tale portrays Hawke and whichever sibling will survive the prologue delivering a Curb-Stomp Battle to darkspawn and Flemeth coming to their aid as a dragon. (If the sibling is Bethany, he also enhances her figure.) Cassandra calls bullshit and Varric repeats the story - which happens to be mostly true.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Between narrations she adamantly tries to pin the blame of all the events of the game on a Big Bad. There is none. Varric says that even Meredith, corrupted as she was by the Artifact of Doom, was irrelevant.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Her Dawn of the Seeker outfit.

    Tropes In Dragon Age: Inquisition
"I see what must be done, and I do it! I see no point in running around in circles like a dog chasing its tail."
"We will close the Breach; we will find those responsible; and we will restore order."

Cassandra joins the Inquisitor's party alongside Varric in Dragon Age: Inquisition, in hopes of ending the Thedas Civil War and uncovering the truth behind the demonic invasion from the Fade after moonlighting as a framing device in the previous game. She is a romance option for a male Inquisitor of any race.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Trespasser DLC features her reading excerpts from Varric's latest book while the credits roll. When she finally finds her own cameo in the pages, it pretty much amounts to her begging for Varric's forgiveness. Instead of being offended by it, she's delighted to be part of his story, and declares that she's going to "read the shit out of this!"
  • Adorkable: Probably the last person anyone would expect to be this; but when Cassandra lets down her tough front (and especially when it's revealed that she's a huge fan of Varric's romance serials), she can be quite awkward and sweet.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Much like Aveline, this isn't seen while she's in armor or, uh, naked, but in the epilogue for the Trespasser DLC she's seen with some very bulky forearms.
  • Art Shift: Of all the recurring main characters she seems to have undergone the most noticeable shift in the appearance of her character model. In Dawn of the Seeker and Dragon Age II she has a very Bifauxnen appearance, whereas in Inquisition she has rougher, more masculine, and more Westernized features.
  • Ascended Extra: Served as a skeptical listener for Varric tell his story to in Dragon Age II's Framing Device and Foreshadow the Mage-Templar War. Then she got her own movie, Dawn of the Seeker, and now she's the starting party member.
  • Badass Family: Subverted, actually; despite the Pentaghasts' reputation as dragon slayers, Cassandra reveals that these days, most of them are fat nobles living off the old glories of dead ancestors. Only she and her late brother, Anthony, lived up to the ancestral badass-ness.
  • Badass Longcoat: Some of Cassandra's armor designs have her wear one over the armor itself.
  • Badass Preacher: She can potentially become the Divine herself in the epilogue to Inquisition.
  • Betty and Veronica: She's the Veronica (blunt, intimidating, and a degree of leadership) to Josephine's Betty.
  • Big Brother Worship: She idolized her elder brother, Anthony, who secretly taught her to fight and promised to take her away to hunt dragons with him. Then he was murdered in front of her; she was twelve at the time. The way she describes her history to the Inquisitor suggests that, even though it's been more than twenty years at this point, Cassandra reveres him as much now as she did when he was alive. Party banter between her and Cole reveals that she cherishes a locket with his portrait inside, which Cole rescues from a rat.
  • Bling of War: In Trespasser, if she's made the Divine she starts off with a unique golden armor set.
  • Braids of Action: The epilogue to Trespasser where she doesn't become Divine and serves as an advisor to either Leliana or Vivienne reveals she has adopted this as her hairstyle. Ironically, this is after she's semi-retired from being a warrior. She has a braid wrapped around the crown of her head as well during the time frame of Inquisition, so it's possible she's simply letting it down in the epilogue sketch.
  • Broken Pedestal: Once Blackwall's past is brought to light, she will never treat him the same way again. Their relationship never recovers.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Regarding the Chantry, Templars, Seekers, and everything in between. Any instance the Inquisitor makes statements that allude to them either supporting mage rights or not believing in the Maker, the Chantry's laws, or being the Chosen One earns a significant amount of disapproval from Cassandra. In fact, simply telling her that the Chantry has failed in its duties causes her to greatly disapprove.
  • The Chains of Commanding: If made Divine, she will beg the romanced Inquisitor to allow her to continue to be in his adventure party just to get away from all of the sycophants and paperwork.
  • Character Development: She becomes more relaxed over the course of the story. For instance, Iron Bull flirting with her at the start would probably cause her to respond with the below mentioned Character Tic in annoyance. But come Trespasser, she just laughs.
  • Character Tic: (Disgusted Noise).
  • The Clan: She comes from one. Despite being the 11th cousin, nine times removed, of King Markus, she still has the name Pentaghast, which means that the male line of the family alone is huge. She says as much if the Inquisitor talks to her about it, noting that it requires large charts to keep track of just how her family members are related to each other.
  • Combination Attack: Due to having the same abilities as a Templar Inquisitor, Cassandra can create her own eldritch detonations without assistance from other party members by using Wrath of Heaven and following it with Spell Purge.
  • The Comically Serious: Despite being the most straight-laced party member in a team of snarky, unstable misfits, Cassandra has some of the funniest moments in the game by virtue of her awkwardness and disgust at her friends' misbehavior.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: At the start of the Mage-Templar War, she was forced to choose between her duty to the Seekers, who had led the Templars away from the Chantry, and her duty to the Divine. Cassandra ultimately chooses the Divine, since the Divine seeks to end the chaos while the Seekers are contributing to it.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Her suspicion seems to have carried over from the second game. She meets the Inquisitor-to-be striding relatively unharmed out of a catastrophe that consumed an army and assumes (not unreasonably) that they had a hand in making it happen. Unlike most conspiracy theorists, however, Cassandra proves entirely willing to reconsider when the evidence begins to suggest that her theory is wrong.
  • Contralto of Danger: Like before, she's low-pitched, sharp, and with a heavy Nevarran accent.
  • Cool Big Sis: Cassandra slowly takes on this role for Sera, even proposing to teach her Seeker tricks against magic to fight her fear. But the sentiment is one-sided. While Sera likes and respects Cassandra, she is also attracted to her, which puts a damper on any potential sisterly feelings.
    • She can also take on this role for a female (or non-romanced but befriended male) Inquisitor. Since Cassandra is in her thirties or forties by this point, the potentially younger Inquisitor can look up to her greatly. If her approval maxes out over time, they become very close friends.
  • Covert Pervert: She enjoys Varric's smutty literature series, Swords and Shields. How bad is it? Dorian may comment that he "feels dumber for having tried" to read it, and Varric himself sees the series as an Old Shame.
  • Creepy Uncle: Creepy cousin, more accurately. In party banter with Dorian, he describes a Pentaghast with whom his mother is acquainted, and Cassandra is surprised to find that, despite the sprawling size of her family, she actually knows who he means: "Cousin Loren, with the wandering hands."
  • The Creon: Like Leliana, Cassandra was essentially considered a de facto leader of the Inquisition, before the attack on Haven and the realization that it was actually the Player Character - the person she had initially accused of everything - who had been leading them. With no desire for power, she graciously steps down, something Solas finds amazing.
  • Crisis of Faith: While she appears to handle it far better than Leliana does, cracks in Cassandra's faith start to show here and there. The best example comes after learning that Varric knew where Hawke was the whole time (including during his narration of the second game). If this is all the Maker's plan, then that would mean everything that happened since the Conclave was all part of His plan. In fact, The Nightmare says that the lingering doubt that there is no Maker — and thus no greater good in the world — is her deepest fear. She has another one when she discovers that Seekers gain their powers not from meditation but from unknowingly communing with a Spirit of Faith after being made Tranquil. She wonders if the only reason she has faith is because of the Spirit, though Cole later assures her that it is the other way around; the Spirit was drawn to her by her faith.
    Cassandra:'s difficult to know who [the Maker's plan] truly benefits. Or how.
  • Defector from Decadence: Cassandra quits the Seekers when she realizes that they are leading the world into chaos. This was also the reason she joined the Seekers to begin with; she had grown tired of the decadence of Nevarran nobility.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She puts up a very tough, cold, and pragmatic persona when her duty is at stake, but inside she's actually very warm, unshakably decent, and convinced she isn't living up to her own insanely high standards. This comes to the fore as she gets to know the Inquisitor better, and especially in a romance.
  • Deuteragonist: Probably the most important character in Inquisition next to the Inquisitor themselves. She actually was the one to call the Inquisition in the first place, and operated as its de facto leader until the Herald of Andraste was chosen to be Inquisitor.
  • Double Standard: Tends to condemn the rebel mages for the exact same actions she excuses or ignores for the Templars and Seekers; something pretty much every companion and adviser calls her out on at least once.
    Cassandra: Do you see this? The apostates have gone mad with power!
    Solas: I see just as many Templars.
    Varric: The Templars aren't looking any better!
    • Cassandra believes the Dalish should add the Maker to the list of gods they worship, but doesn't believe humans should worship nor even respect elvhen gods.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: If her approval drops low enough, she deals with it by getting utterly hammered.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Lord Seeker Lucius tries to convince Cassandra to join him in creating a new world order, Cassandra doesn't deign to reply; she just draws her sword.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Inverted. After meeting Hawke, Cassandra mentions that she was expecting them to be shorter.
  • Face of a Thug: Not exactly a thug (though Chancellor Roderick calls her one), but she has a very square, angular face, a striking scar on her left jaw, piercing eyes, and eyebrows that naturally curve inwards. All of this means she can muster an impressive look of disapproval... which isn't much different from her resting face.
    Scout Harding: Seeker Cassandra came through here earlier looking like a storm cloud. [Beat] That's just her face, though, isn't it?
  • Fangirl: At some point between reading the Tale of the Champion to find clues about Hawke's whereabouts and capturing Varric, she started reading his other, fiction books (ostensibly solely in hopes of finding more clues there) and became a hopeless fangirl of his writing. She is very closeted about it, though.
    • She is also one to Hawke, asking Varric if Hawke would be willing to sign a copy of The Tale of the Champion for her.
      Varric: Doesn't your copy of The Tale of the Champion have a big hole in it?
      Cassandra: ...Yes. But it could also have Hawke's signature on it.
    • She can potentially be something like this for the Inquisitor too, especially if she's female; Cass notes that, as with Andraste, the future of Thedas lies in the hands of a woman who brings hope to the masses.
      Cassandra: It makes me proud to know you.
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed. Cassandra tends to trust and support Templars but distrust and want to restrict mages. She also believes the Dalish should worship the Maker but humans shouldn't worship nor respect elvhen gods, and makes some pretty awful anti-elf comments if brought along to Mythal and/or JoH.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Becomes this with Varric. Before the move to Skyhold, they're civil, although Varric never lets her forget she kidnapped him. This civility falls apart once Varric reveals he knew where Hawke was the whole time, and things become extremely tense between them. Over time, though, they become friends for real; they clearly have a lot of respect for each other, and at the same time playfully mock one another in party banter. The fact that she gets the first copy of his book about the Inquisition in Trespasser really says it all.
    • Also develops this relationship with the Inquisitor if they max out her Relationship Values. When they first meet, the Inquisitor is her prisoner; bound, interrogated, and harshly accused of a crime they did not commit. Cassandra is also slow to trust them, even at first denying them a weapon to defend themselves against demons. However, working together to close the Breach at Haven causes her to change her mind and trust you. From there, if the Inquisitor is not needlessly cruel or mocking toward her feelings or beliefs (and/or does enough things she approves of), working together within the Inquisition to restore order and save Thedas (first from the Breach, then Corypheus) eventually causes Cassandra to consider you two True Companions, and she swears Undying Loyalty to you.
  • First Girl Wins: For male Inquisitors who choose to romance her; she's the first character they meet in the game.
  • Foil: To Leliana. Both are faithful women who serve the Divine, but they have different standings on the Chantry and the Inquisitor's opinion of it. Cassandra is so loyal to the Chantry to the point that she disapproves if the Inquisitor has negative things to say about it (even if they raise valid points against the Chantry), while Leliana is loyal to the Divine but is completely aware of the Chantry's flaws as she understands if the Inquisitor doesn't trust the Chantry. They also have opposing opinions on mages and Templars, since Leliana supports the mages and distrusts the Templars whereas it's the other way around with Cassandra.
  • For Want of a Nail: In her case, the nail was her brother Anthony; she ruminates on this in conversation with the Inquisitor when she finally tells them about him. Since it was his murder which led to her becoming a Seeker, she wonders what would have become of her if he had lived, with being "married to some noble fool, a mother of three" one of the possibilities.
  • The Gadfly: Not Cassandra herself, but her rigid demeanor tends to elicit this behaviour from her comrades.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Her specialization is Templar, even though Seeker abilities are completely different from Templar abilities.
  • Gilded Cage: These are the exact words she used to describe being born into Nevarran nobility. She lived in luxury, but had little freedom and didn't see "the real Nevarra" until much later in her life. In any case, it all disgusts her.
  • The Glomp: Delivers one to a male Inquisitor at the consummation of their romance.
  • Going Commando: Sera asks her in party banter about the color of her underpants; Cass replies that she doesn't wear any. It's unclear whether she's telling the truth or just trolling Sera right back.
  • Graceful Loser: She bears no ill will against Leliana if she is named Divine instead of her. She initially is fine with Vivienne as well, but two years later in Trespasser, Cassandra comes to view Vivienne as a tyrant and eventually quits the Exalted Council in disgust.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: She's picked up some, most noticeably the one on her jaw/left cheek.
  • Guilty Pleasure: She's a fan of Varric's works, particularly the "smutty literature" series Swords and Shields. The best part is that Varric himself considers it more "fluff" than smut, meaning Cassandra basically reads WAFF-y romance novels in her spare time.
  • Heartbroken Badass: As it turns out, after Dawn of the Seeker she wound up having a relationship with the mage Galyan. He died in the opening of the Breach. No wonder she was so vicious with the Inquisitor-to-be at the start; she lost her first love and Divine Justinia in one fell swoop, and possibly other friends/acquaintances as well.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Cassandra still has an extremely high opinion of and respect for Hawke. They were one of Cassandra's first choices to lead the Inquisition, and one of the reasons she is so enraged at Varric for hiding Hawke the whole time is that she thought that Hawke could have possibly saved the Divine had they been at the Conclave.
  • Hidden Depths: She'd never admit it outright (though everyone seems to know anyway), but she's a hopeless romantic that dreams of a beautiful "ideal" romance - candles, flowers, poetry, all that hokey stuff. Given her rough personality, she thinks that such a "flighty" side is too silly to indulge, since Men Are Uncultured. Doing those sorts of things for her anyway (or admitting he enjoys them too) is a good way to gain some affection; an Inquisitor who isn't romancing her can gain approval points by telling her that they like her passionate side. Conversely, the Inquisitor can grumpily tell her, "This is why you're alone."note 
    • She's also into literature. She specifically enjoys Varric's stories, her favorite being an Old Shame romance novel. Cassandra says she sees the mastery of what he writes, but Varric himself has to be talked into writing more, which he does simply to see her reaction. Trespasser ends with her doing very bad impersonations of everyone while reading and critiquing his book on the Inquisition.
      [reading a line of the Iron Bull's dialogue] "Come on, the dancer with the great rack is on in five." That is... spot on, actually.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Cassandra is a Chantry loyalist and always disapproves if the Inquisitor badmouths it by saying that it's inherently corrupt, unnecessary, or beyond saving. She will also agonize over whether or not the Seekers should be reformed after she learns their Dark Secret. Both organizations have had long-lasting conspiracies that have persisted from their inception. And yet, she is unwilling to forgive Blackwall, even though his lie was about who he was and not his reasons or actions.
    • On that note, while Cassandra gets very upset whenever the Inquisitor criticizes the Chantry, Templars, or Seekers (even if they're a mage and/or elf and therefore has very good reason to do so), if said Inquisitor opts to respect the rituals of Mythal, Cassandra scoffs, "Why are we wasting our time with this heathen nonsense?" Apparently respecting the Chantry is required, but respecting the elven religion isn't.
    • Cassandra will encourage a Dalish Inquisitor to believe in the Maker, but yet doesn't volunteer to start worshipping Dalish gods in the interest of fairness.
    • In her first conversation with Blackwall, she commends him for joining the Wardens, saying it is never too late to turn one's life around to do good. When the truth comes out, however, that Blackwall is not actually a true Grey Warden but a criminal posing as one, she can barely stand to be around him and never really forgives him, despite the fact that his pretending to be a Warden was actually his attempt to turn his life around to do good, as he really was going to be inducted into the Wardens but the real Blackwall died before the Joining ceremony was complete.
    • As stated above, she advocates for reforming the Seekers and the Templar Order, believing that they deserve a second chance despite the atrocities they've committed. However, she strongly objects if the Inquisitor does just that to the Grey Wardens, even though the Wardens committed atrocities out of good intentions whereas the Seekers and the Templars committed theirs out of malicious ambition and pride.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Mixed with a dose of Unequal Pairing. If the Inquisitor flirts repeatedly with Cassandra, she will eventually express her worries that such a powerful figure is taking an interest in someone as far beneath his station as her.
  • I Should Have Been Better: She holds herself to punishing standards and tends to dwell on what-could-have-beens.
    Inquisitor: You're too hard on yourself, Cassandra.
    Cassandra: Not hard enough, I think.
    Inquisitor: You can't believe that.
  • Incompatible Orientation: A female Inquisitor who is nice and flirts with her at every opportunity actually makes Cassandra seem a little frightened, and after a while she will politely spell out that any relationship is not possible. If you flirt with her only a few times, though, it helps max out her approval.
  • Informed Ability: She claims to have the power to bend mages and Templars to her will by causing the lyrium in their blood to burn. She never displays this ability in-game when facing the various mage and Templar enemies.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Noted by Blackwall when he offers the Inquisitor romantic advice about her: Cassandra is used to being a soldier, rather than being treated like a woman, and she has a bit of a complex about it. She's a hopeless romantic that dreams of nothing less than the "ideal" romance (candles, flowers, poetry and all that). Thus, she feels it's unlikely the Inquisitor (or many other men, for that matter) would be interested in her. the Inquisitor can disagree and try anyway, or he can tell her "This is why you're alone".
  • Irony: In Trespasser, the Inquisitor comes across a dragon that's been chained and tortured by the Qunari so they can use its venom, and they must neutralise it as a threat. One of the party members will suggest killing it, but Cassandra says the poor creature deserves better than to be simply put down after such torment and wants the Inquisitor to free it. That's right: the dragon-slayer from a clan of dragon-slayers wants to avoid slaying the dragon.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: She invokes the trope with some trepidation when investigating the Shrine of Dumat. Unsurprisingly, the creepy ancient seemingly abandoned temple to a (hopefully) long-dead corrupted Old God is infested with demons.
    Cassandra: It is far, far too quiet.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Of the three Warrior companions. She can't deal as much damage as Iron Bull or take it as well as Blackwall, but she has more damage potential than Blackwall and more durability than Iron Bull. Her "Templar" specialization has no particular dependency on the durability of either the Sword'n'Board or damage rate of Two-hander weapon configurations, unlike Blackwall and his Champion spec, or Iron Bull and his Reaver spec, respectively.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her anger towards Varric for hiding Hawke's location is understandable considering just what was going on at the time.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: A rare female example, but Cassandra is highly idealistic and romantic in her view of justice. Her views on the Chantry and the Seekers is that they should be serving the people.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Carried over from Dragon Age II, Cassandra has a high admiration for Hawke. Hawke was her first choice as leader of the new Inquisition. She even wants Hawke to autograph her knife-stabbed copy of The Tale of the Champion. She can grow to have a similar admiration for the Inquisitor.
  • Lady of War: She's a calm, regal warrior who is actually quite feminine.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the Inquisitor stumbles upon her reading "smutty literature" written by Varric.
    Cassandra: Pretend you don't know this about me.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Cassandra is the middle ground of the Inquisitor's three warrior companions. When used as a sword and shield tank, she can create her own eldritch detonations to cause large amounts of damage while still acting as an effective damage sponge. When used as a two-handed damage dealer, Cassandra's ability to stun large groups of enemies combines well with her various guard generating abilities to keep her alive while dealing damage. She can't quite match the Iron Bull's damage output or Blackwall's survivability, but Cassandra can excel no matter which role the player gives her.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Some of her interactions with Cullen suggests that they have this sort of dynamic. It's made more readily apparent through ambient dialogue with the Skyhold messengers, who are following her orders to check on him and report back to her (so she can monitor his lyrium withdrawal). She even comments with some amusement that she knows that she's annoying him, just like a big sister might. There is little to no romantic tension between them whatsoever - she's not even remotely eager to watch his walk of shame after the Wicked Grace game, for example - but they clearly respect and like each other a great deal. Trespasser shows that she's very supportive of his romance with a female Inquisitor and if they get married, she's overjoyed for them.
  • Made of Iron: Interestingly averted; the game subtly suggests through dialogue, gameplay, and her armor that Cassandra is a scrappier brand of warrior than the usual brick wall sword and board users in the series has had. Before Inquisition, it was even up in the air whether she was a warrior or rogue.
  • My Greatest Failure: Specifically, the Seekers' greatest failure. Their inaction and poor handling of the upcoming Mage-Templar war, in addition to their change in focus, disillusioned her to the group and has caused her to blame herself in part for the conflict. Talking to Cole gives her a new perspective as to how horribly many mages were treated by Templars and how much of this the Seekers overlooked or possibly ignored, which horrifies and disgusts her. On a personal level, she believes that her absence at the Conclave (meaning she couldn't help Justinia) was a failure on her part as well. Vivienne assures her that this isn't the case.
  • Nephewism: She and her brother were raised by their uncle after their parents were executed for being on the wrong side of an attempt to overthrow Nevarra's king. He was an aloof guardian, being a Mortalitasi (sort of an undertaker Up to Eleven) with no understanding of how to care for children; however, party banter with Cole suggests that he really does love his niece.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. The Inquisitor can tease her about her romance novel fascination in dialogue after they convince Varric to finish his series for her. And it's all but a foregone conclusion that Varric will eternally torment her over it as well.
    • Varric will also never let Cassandra forget that she kidnapped and interrogated him, but his barbs slowly lose their spitefulness as they become friends.
  • Nice Girl: Although it's not apparent at the beginning of the game, Cassandra is loyal, fair, and kind to all the companions and even a mage-friendly atheist Inquisitor; if the Inquisitor isn't offensively dismissive of her beliefs, she'll still declare them friends and swear loyalty. Almost all her banter with other companions includes at least one moment when she tries to understand their point of view, and she even apologises for the crimes of the Chantry and Templars. She is also quick to retract a perceived insult or offence; for example, when she asks Varric about Bianca, she reveals her own situation with Galyan. Even though the Inquisition is her work, she has no interest in gaining any power for herself. She wants only to help people, something that Solas finds admirable... and unbelievable.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
    • Takes the role of the Nice one among your three female party members compared to Vivienne's Mean and Sera's In-Between. She's headstrong, empathetic, open-minded towards many things that challenged her beliefs, and believes in the better virtues represented by the Chantry. She is available as a romance option, unlike Vivienne, and her romance with the Inquisitor, be they a Mage, non-human, an atheist, non-Andrastinian, or any combination of the above, is much smoother than Sera's romance with a Dalish Elf Inquisitor.
    • Takes the role of the In-Between among the three Divine candidates compared to Leliana's Nice and Vivienne's Mean. She chooses to reform the Circle, the Templars and, if so pursuaded by the Inquisitor, the Seekers to the virtues they were meant to represent. This is also shown through her support of the Inquisition as Divine: She requires a positive approval (Leliana unconditionally support the Inquisition) but still maintains a strained relationship even if you have negative approval (Vivienne seems to completely severe any ties with the Inquisition).
  • Not So Above It All:
    • She admits that she enjoys Iron Bull's flirting with her, so long as he understands that nothing is ever going to happen between them.
    • Cassandra is one of the most idealistic and least corruptible characters in the entire franchise, to the point that she walks away from power without even once thinking of taking it for herself. And yet, when talking to the Inquisitor about her favorite book from Varric's series, she will excitedly, gleefully suggest that they could command Varric to finish it. She's only halfway through making this point when she stops herself and then says to pretend that this side of her was never known.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • She is a Seeker, essentially a member of the Templar secret police, and yet she trusts and befriends Solas, a hedge mage who would be considered an apostate if the word hadn't lost all meaning in the Mage/Templar War.
    • In spite of her uptight behavior, she also gets along remarkably well with the Iron Bull.
    • She is, at first, very firm with Cole, making it clear that she will kill him if he betrays their trust. When he calmly agrees, she is taken aback; and she is even more surprised when she discovers that Cole killed Lord Seeker Lambert. However, she eventually comes to accept his reasons for doing so, and develops a gentle and affectionate tone towards him (except for the occasional flustered reprimand when he peers into her romantic memories). This is all probably because she realizes that he is a benevolent spirit, like the spirit of Faith that communed with her when she was initiated as a Seeker.
    • It takes them a while, but after having initially been at each other's throats, she and Varric eventually develop what could be considered a friendship.
  • Older Than They Look: She looks like she's in her twenties despite DAI taking place 20 years after Dawn of the Seeker, which means she's actually in her late thirties or mid-forties.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Briefly but incredibly jarring. She's (mostly) very respectful to those with non-Andrastian views... unless the player chooses to take her to the Temple of Mythal, in which she starts spouting very anti-elven views and show little to no respect for elven history or the ancient elves. She does something similar, though to a lesser extent, in certain parts of the Jaws of Hakkon DLC. Again, it's extremely jarring for such an otherwise open-minded character.
  • Overly Long Name: Revealed if you take her with you to the Halamshiral Ball. It's implied that if she hadn't interrupted, the announcer would have kept going, meaning she has many more names that weren't revealed.
    Announcer: Cassandra Allegra Calogera Portia Filomena—
    Cassandra: Get on with it!
    Announcer: Pentaghast.
  • The Paladin: Cassandra is basically a Paladin in all but explicit title. She is a knight sworn to the service of a religious order, whose supernatural holy powers come after years of reflection, training and solidifying her devotion. Said powers allow her to cause immediate harm to a specific type of enemy. And on a personal level, she's devoted to the spirit of her religious order, and not its teachings, which means she rebels in order to do good.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: First, she rebelled against the Seekers to side with the Chantry when she felt the Seekers stressed order over justice. She later rebels against the Chantry, when they demand the same.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her parents were executed for treason when she and her brother were children. They were raised by their Mortalitasi uncle, who didn't really know how to raise children. This is one of the reasons why Cassandra chose to abandon her family to become a Seeker.
  • Percussive Therapy: It's her favorite way of dealing with her anger. Books, training dummies, walls (according to Vivienne); she's not too picky about her targets.
    Varric: Define "calmed down" in terms of who or what she's punching right now.
    • She also punches trees. According to a party banter with Blackwall, she has terrible allergies, and when she was younger, her brother had playfully suggested she punch the tree to get back at it. For some reason, she says, it actually seems to help.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She's a... forceful personality, which makes her look and sound angry even when she isn't:
    The Herald: You would have done differently, I suppose?
    Cassandra: [looking genuinely surprised] ...Oh, I do sound like I'm blaming you, don't I? I don't disapprove. In fact, you did well.
    • Harding can also comment on it, if you speak to her in Skyhold:
    "Seeker Pentaghast came through here looking like a storm cloud... but that's just her face, isn't it?"
  • Pet the Dog: After butting heads with Varric for hiding Hawke from her all along, she is the first one to try to console him if Hawke sacrifices themselves in the Fade. It doesn't work, but she tries.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After Hawke arrives at Skyhold and Cassandra chews Varric out, Cassandra half-admits, half-realizes that Varric lied about not knowing Hawke's location partly because she didn't explain why she needed Hawke. She had been so harsh and demanding that Varric naturally believed that Hawke would have been arrested or worse had he revealed his friend's whereabouts, and Cassandra feels like her poor communication is what led to the current mess. Subverted in that Varric and the Inquisitor can both point out that there's no proof that Hawke could have saved the Divine, and Varric not telling Cassandra might be the only reason they're all still alive.
  • Pragmatic Hero: She tends to favor pragmatic decisions over softer approaches.
    Dorian: The voice of pragmatism speaks! And here I was just starting to enjoy the circular arguments.
  • Precision F-Strike: An absolutely hilarious one during the credits of Trespasser.
    Cassandra: That dwarf, he... he... he put me in the book! (giggles) I'm in the book! I'm reading the shit out of this.
  • Quickly Demoted Leader: At the start of the game, she is one of the four de facto leaders of the Inquisition. In fact, she is the one who declared it. But she quickly loses all of that authority and becomes a party member with no more power than Varric or Vivienne: well-respected, to be sure, but that's about it. Solas actually commends her on being able to walk away from her de facto leadership once the de jure leader was picked.
  • Reality Warper: Inverted according to a conversation with Solas, who says that Seekers and Templars make the world more stable, blocking the Fade from transforming it.
    Cassandra: Well, no one's ever accused me of "reinforcing reality" before.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite her often harsh demeanor, Cassandra is willing to give prisoners a chance to explain themselves and lets them go free with no strings attached if convinced of their innocence. She also handles her subordinates fairly and deals with the complaints of the mage/Templar forces who join the Inquisition.
  • Religious Bruiser: Cassandra's faith is her sole motivating factor in everything she does. She implies that the only way she copes with everything that goes wrong in her life (and the world at large) is to believe that everything is part of the Maker's plan. To wit, she will constantly approve whenever the Inquisitor says or does something that reaffirms her faith or demonstrates that a good end comes from a bad beginning. Solas corroborates this in his "Friendship Conversation", stating that the difference between the Inquisitor and Cassandra is that if Cassandra had to choose between her faith and reality, she would always choose her faith.
  • Romance Sidequest: She is a romance option for a male Inquisitor of any race.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Pentaghasts are the Nevarran royal family, who originally rose to prominence as dragonslayers. In fact, they were largely responsible for nearly bringing about the total extinction of the species during the Steel Age, three centuries ago. That being said, she points out that she's actually very far down the line of succession. She's 78th in line for the throne, and at the Winter Palace ball, it's stated that she's King Markus's 11th cousin, eight times removed. So her connection to the royal family is more a matter of technicality than anything. She finds the whole business deeply annoying and would rather act like it doesn't exist. Much of the rest of the family are fat aristocrats who rest on ancestral laurels. Cassandra, on the other hand, is made of cast iron and has killed a dragon like the Pentaghasts of old.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Cassandra believes that doing what she knows to be right is more important than law or duty.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: If Vivienne becomes Divine Victoria, then Cassandra eventually abandons her position in the Exalted Council and as the Right Hand of the Divine due to her belief that Vivienne is too much of a tyrant.
  • Second Love: If the Inquisitor romances her, he becomes this to Cassandra; her first love was Galyan.
  • Shield Bash: Powerful enough to clear obstacles.
  • Shrouded in Myth: If the stories are to be believed (and according to Cassandra, they are not), she has killed seventeen dragons.
  • Sibling Team: She remarks in conversation that, if her brother Anthony was still alive, they probably would be slaying dragons together.
  • Squee!: She comes just shy of doing this while gushing over Swords and Shields to an amused Inquisitor.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: The Stoic is her default mode, but she occasionally shows a softer side, especially during her romance.
  • Superior Successor: If the Inquisitor romances her and she becomes Divine, the Chantry experiences a golden age under her reign.
  • Tautological Templar: Very, very slightly. Cassandra will always do what she feels to be right and doesn't slacken her morals when it's convenient. She will always defend good and fight evil. The problem, though, is that she's often too quick to assume which is which, and once her mind is set, it's hard to change it. But even then, when confronted with proof that she was mistaken, she is very hard on herself.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Twice she's been presented with this choice: follow the Templars and Seekers into rebellion or stay in service to Divine Justinia as Her right hand, and later to obey the orders of the remaining Chantry hierarchy after Justinia's death or form the Inquisition without their support. She makes the latter choice in both cases, disobeying the chain of command because they are not doing what she believes to be right. She can even have a discussion with the Inquisitor about following the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit; she believes in helping people more than following arbitrary rules.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She mentions, in party banter, that she hates wearing dresses, and to all appearances she qualifies as a tomboy. However, she's got "a true romantic heart," as the Inquisitor can say teasingly, and enjoys things like love poetry, romantic novels, and candlelit interludes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • After the death of Divine Justinia V, Cassandra later becomes one of two possible candidates to replace her (the other is Leliana). If Cassandra is chosen over Leliana to become Divine Victoria, she enacts reforms for a new Templar order and a new Circle of Magi, and re-dedicates the Seekers to being protectors of the innocent.
    • How she regards Cole develops as this. At first, she's much like Vivienne, regarding him as a potential demon and wanting him to be sent away. But as Cole helps her untie all her own emotional knots, she warms up to him and shows gratitude for his efforts, and eventually doesn't take umbrage much at all when Cole starts reading her.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The locket mentioned above; it belonged to her grandmother, and contains a portrait of her beloved and ill-fated brother.
  • Tsundere: She still waves this flag on occasion; a shining example is if the Inquisitor romances her. If the Inquisitor straight-up tells her that he wants her love, she becomes flustered and states that romance is not what she wants, walking away and slamming a door... before coming straight back and saying yes, that's exactly what she wants.
  • Unexpected Successor: Justinia's death makes Cassandra and Leliana candidates to replace her.
  • Unfit for Greatness: One reason she relinquishes leadership of the Inquisition to the Herald. She believes that she isn't the kind of person who can fill the role of The Hero.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: She eventually develops this kind of dynamic with Varric, if they're together often enough in the party. In Trespasser she even admits, in a roundabout way, that she's missed him.
    Varric: Be still my heart. I've grown on you!
    Cassandra: (almost playful) Like fungus.
  • Vow of Celibacy: If she gets elected Divine: while more progressive than Vivienne, she isn't nearly as willing to make changes as Leliana. And allowing the Divine to marry would be a great change. It doesn't stop her and the Inquisitor from remaining faithful and loving to one another.
    • In Trespasser, she is still very much in love with the Inquisitor, and makes no secret of the fact that they are a couple.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Downplayed. Varric will not let Cassandra forget that she kidnapped and interrogated him. In party banter, she gently reminds him that she could have used harsher methods to make him talk. Varric calls her out on it, saying she doesn't get a prize for not adding torture to her list of other crimes against him. Cassandra wisely drops it.
  • Warrior Princess: Although her Royal Blood is of no real interest to her, she's this; if asked for her opinion of Cassandra, Josephine explicitly calls her "a princess of Nevarra." Despite being very distant from the throne, she is perhaps the most like the Pentaghasts of old in terms of martial prowess in comparison to the rest of her rather large family. She even has a dragon-slaying notch on her belt (and can add more during the course of the game), further living up to her ancestors' legends.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Varric reveals he's been in contact with the "missing" Hawke all along, she is furious.
    • Her codex entry has her doing this in a letter to her superiors in the Seekers, accusing them of exacerbating the chaos of the Mage-Templar War by breaking away from the Chantry instead of trying to restore order.
    • Out of all the characters, she is by far the most outraged at the Inquisitor if the player chooses to pardon Blackwall after his secret is exposed. She eventually forgives the Inquisitor, if her approval is high enough otherwise, but Trespasser reveals that she really never does forgive Blackwall.
    • If her approval drops low enough, the Inquisitor can find her getting drunk and taking them to task for the wrongs they have committed.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Countless forum threads have been dedicated to this questions, yet still nobody seems to be sure where to place Cassandra's accent. A mix of Germanic and Austrian inflections spoken by someone who spent a long time in an English-speaking country seems to be the most widely accepted answer so far. What a whole lot of people do seem to agree on is that Miranda Raison's voice work is exceptional, and that Cass's accent is incredibly sexy.
  • When She Smiles: Cassandra is one of the most stoic characters in the franchise and a Perpetual Frowner to boot, but there are a few opportunities to make her smile even for Inquisitors that aren't romancing her, and when it happens, it's a wonderful sight to behold.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: A Brick Joke from the previous game crops up in Trespasser when Varric gives her, essentially, Dragon Age: Inquisition: The Novel. She first can't get over the title, All This Shit Is Weird, then has a blast reading out and imitating the characters and pointing out the accuracy (or lack thereof) in each portrayal.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Inquisitor has the option to tell her this after her row with Varric.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: Can invoke this reaction from a non-human Inquisitor, especially early in the game when she asks if/why don't you believe in the Maker? A non-human Inquisitor can point out and they're not human and/or they have their own religion.
    Cassandra: I'm curious. Do you even believe in the Maker?
    Lavellan: I'm Dalish. I believe in our own gods.


Example of: